The Precipice

I always feel as though I’m standing on a precipice at the beginning of a new year.

The view is beautiful, idyllic even, but it was a journey to get here, and there will be an arduous journey to return to where I started.

I think the view from up here is my favorite part of the year; it’s definitely the easiest part.  I’ve spent countless hours over the summer reading PD books, scanning Twitter, speaking with colleagues, devouring blog posts, all to get to this point.  Plans filter through my brain, images of what each day will look like, how my students will delight in all of the lessons and books and ideas.

And then I remember that a precipice is dangerous.  That at any moment I could misstep and fall off the edge.  While it’s great to have all of these positive thoughts about the year, it’s also important to be realistic and plan for the less sunshiny days.

It will be hard.  There will be students I do not get along with. There will be lessons that fall flat. There will be books that do not get read. There will be essays I shed tears over (maybe tears of joy, but…probably not). There will be days I do not want to do this job anymore.

But on those days I will pull out my Happy Folder and read student notes and parent emails that put a smile on my face, and continue to travel down from the top of the mountain to base camp, where the air is not as thin and I can think a little straighter.

Right now I’m anxious, just as I imagine I would be on a real precipice (okay, actually I’d be passed out because I’m afraid of heights, but I’m trying to stick with the metaphor). I don’t know what lies ahead. I don’t know what the trip down the mountain will be like. I might even fall off the edge (but more of a stumble because I don’t want to die in this metaphor).  But from here the view is awesome, and I’m taking a mental snapshot of it so I can remember it when the trek gets really tough.


I hope you’re enjoying your view right now.  I know it’s hard wrapping up your leisurely summer and returning to the grind of work.  But we chose this work, and if we’re passionate about it, then we can make and enjoy the journey while we’re at it.

I hope you have a great return to school and an awesome year.

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Next week I’m going to write about staying balanced as a teacher.  Stay tuned. 🙂

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