Fresh Starts

There is no one thing I can say I like about working in higher education.  The sense of accomplishment I feel when a student succeeds at learning can be as exhilarating as any drug I know.  I would hope it would only be surpassed by the feeling a student has in learning the material.

The knowledge that I am doing something worthwhile in this world, something that, I hope and choose to believe, can only improve the lives of those I teach, for the benefit of the world at large is why I became a teacher in the first place.

But right up there towards the top of the list is the fact that every year provides two or three opportunities for me and my students to have a fresh start.  Last semester and last year is in the past and it is time to start anew.  

Originally posted at Daily Kos as part of Teacher’s Lounge

Having spent some time over the winter break reflecting on what we all could have done better, we have the chance to show that we can put those ideas into practice.  Each student…and I…have the opportunity to start again with a clean slate.  There are no grades assigned yet.  No assignments have even been made.  We haven’t even congregated together in a classroom.  For my part, even if I know how students have failed or succeeded in the past, that’s all out the window.  It’s time to move forward.

Oh how I wish all of life were like that, that people…including we, ourselves…could put our past indiscretions and failures where they belong:  in the past.

We shall all make mistakes in our lives.  I’m positive that we all have already done so.  The idea is to learn from them, including how not to repeat them.  If we become better people because of them, then they can serve a worthwhile purpose.  That can’t happen if they can never be forgiven, if they can’t be, if not forgotten, at least laid aside.

I vow to be a better teacher this year.  And a better writer.  And a better person.  This year.  This semester.  And if I can do that, I can hope that the world will be a better place.

What other goal is there?


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    • Robyn on January 12, 2008 at 19:39

    I’m being recruited at the last minute to teach an introduction to using BlackBoard for a technology workshop I was really hoping to avoid.  Debbie is teaching how to use PowerPoint and is on a panel about partially online classes.

    One of the things I should strive to improve is being less of a procrastinator.  Maybe I can start doing that later today.

    Robyn (busy composing thank you letters…sometimes I rue being the one with the good handwriting)

    • Robyn on January 13, 2008 at 01:16

    …that when I write things that appear both here and over there, I have to try to write on a several different layers.

    This essay is about more than teachers and students.

    • RiaD on January 13, 2008 at 01:26

    i’ve had several in my marriage to MrD…

    several in my life…

    moving is good for fresh starts… maybe thats why granny did spring cleaning… clearing out the past- starting new.

    i’m starting fresh… a return to the farm, but not to the past… starting anew in an old place.

    amazing sometimes how many ppl think along the same lines. i was thinking when i woke this morning that i’m starting a new period in my life- a fresh start… a chance to begin again, rather than give up (which is what i had been on the very edge of)

    the ppl here have really given me hope… in humanity … & in myself

    some of your poems & writings have touched me very deeply robyn… thank you

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