While I really wasn't ready for school to start this year, I've still been happy as classes started back up. One of the reasons I love being a teacher is the sense of renewal that comes twice a year, when the semesters start. It's a new year, a new group of students, new classes. New beginnings.
Particularly since becoming a mother, I've been thinking a lot about beginnings and learning. There's nothing like an infant-toddler to teach you about learning: the persistence, the repetition, the scaffolding, the partnerships, the environments that shape what my daughter learns, repeats, or enjoys just amaze me. I'm learning when to offer help, when to get out of the way, when to watch as she makes her own choices and deals with the consequences.
While my adult students are not, I hasten to say, children, I've been thinking a lot about parenting-inspired-insights for my teaching. Rituals are something I want to incorporate more of this semester (my version of a new year's resolution for the fall is to find something I want to pay attention to in my teaching). My ritual for fall isn't the newest idea on the block, but it's new to my practice: directed reading response journals (double-entry) that we'l use in reading time at the start of class to promote discussion. I hope it works. Again, we'll see.
And if it doesn't, another new beginning will roll around in January. But for the moment, I'm enjoying this new beginning.