Over the past week my back-to-school routine consisted of taking the covers off my classroom. When I opened the door to room 503, I discovered an ambiance similar to a long-forgotten mansion which lay dormant for years. Dust, cobwebs, musty humidity, the smell of staleness, and a longing for new life. All this was compounded by fallout from construction in the Science wing that is found parallel to the Social Studies hallway. It was no ordinary recovery and required full attention by my cohorts from start to finish. On Thursday afternoon the custodial staff ushered us away for the weekend in order to strip, scrub and wax our 500 hallway. While Labor Day will be a time of rest and relaxation for most, there will be many teachers like myself who will hunker down in their classrooms, prepping for Tuesday's first official day of school.
Looking ahead, I find myself in a better position to begin my second year of teaching. U.S. History for freshmen has been tweaked and strengthened in content. National History Day returns for not one, but two semesters of projects. And Economics has been transformed into AP Economics, a college-credit course with higher-thinking and intense rigor. This will be my single greatest challenge for the new school year; not so much for the content, but the goals which I've established for both students and myself. As the eighteenth AP course offering at BDHS I know there are expectations from administration, and I'm not about to back away from high standards already put into place by other AP teachers. If anything, I expect to take these standards to a higher level and beyond. It may take time to get my rhythm, but I intend to mold this class into the model of excellence for which it deserves. I have a lifetime of experiences to pull from as well as a deep pool of resources to tap into. I feel honored to have been asked to teach this class and expect every one of my students will "Strive for a 5" x 2 (one for Macro, one for Micro).
Finally, as excited as I am for my students, I'm equally pumped for the opportunity to elevate my personal learning. Pablo Picasso said it well when he noted: "It takes a very long time to become young." These are indeed the best of times!