This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of Patti Butler

A Fresh Start… Again

I am addicted to new beginnings – always have been – always will be.  I love shopping for new school supplies in August. There is something enormously satisfying about getting new pens, notebooks, binders, etc. The new school year is so full of promise and I always feel inspired to make a positive change at the onset of a new school year. I am equally excited about shopping for a new wall calendar of beach scenes as December closes and the new year is eminent.  I totally love sitting down at my dining room table with the old calendar and transferring important dates to the new one. It makes me feel good to start over and make some needed changes.

My addiction was fed again on Monday as we moved into the third term and second semester. I can’t think of another profession that affords us the luxury of so many fresh starts. As we begin the second half of the school year and face the pressures of SLOs, evaluations, deadlines, unmotivated students and a plethora of things that often seem meaningless, we must examine  student progress.  A careful reflection of ourselves as educators will light the way to positive change even though that change can be an arduous task.  At a midyear conference for one of my teachers, said teacher noted that this year has been so much greater than his first because he learned from the mistakes of the past and changed his approach to his classes this year. This is what it is all about… as educators we must constantly change and regroup.

As most of us have probably stated to our classes this week, our students need to take stock in their progress as well. Many must resolve to make changes and be more motivated to learn. Amazing growth can and will take place over the next few months if we can find a new way to model the rewards of positive change. Students must know that it’s not too late for them and that they should not “let the failures of yesterday be an excuse for not trying again today.”  This reality will do them well in life.

We are in the throes of winter and it will probably get worse before it gets better… I am looking forward to spring…a time of change and renewal.

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