Archive for August, 2014

ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

August 25, 2014 Comments Off on ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS General

milkweed and butterfly

ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

Back to school! I drove to my rural university last Friday to begin a new academic year. Looking out into the green hills and valleys, I was reminded that there is something especially poignant and beautiful about late August. The air, the colors, and the sunlight – everything is still summery and lovely but also somehow changed. There is a sense of adventure in the lingering summer season – holding its own but preparing to plunge into something very new. Here in Western Pennsylvania, we like to comment on the beauty of August while adding “but we know what’s coming.” As Bernard Malamud once wrote – the signs of winter are subtle but evident nonetheless in August.

The end of summer makes me sad, because I love summer so much. I love the long hours of daylight, the early morning tours of my garden, the birds in my yard, and the butterflies on the beautiful zinnias I grow from seed along my front walk. However, I must admit to also finding the end of summer very exciting. We teachers have the unique opportunity to start all over again every fall. I’ll have new students and teach new courses – I have another chance to teach and try to fully engage my students in amazingly complex and important educational issues. Win or lose, I just cannot wait to try again.

The special transition of August into Labor Day and fall is a parallel to the equally special transition into a new opportunity to teach and to learn. I watched freshmen moving into their residence halls last Friday; their parents walked sadly back to their cars for the long drive home. Something is always ending and beginning for all of us! I am so fortunate to be a teacher, because no ending is ever as important as the beginning of an opportunity to embrace my students and draw them into thought about the honor, the privilege, and the joy of being or becoming a teacher.

Written by Beatrice S. Fennimore a teacher educator focused on advocacy and social justice for all children