My parents used to say those words, and my grandparents as well. Whenever we were faced with an opportunity, risk, or challenge there was never a moment of pause.
As another school year ramps up it’s important that every teacher and leader remember that this is a new year, a new opportunity, full of new risks, and hopefully new challenges.
My hope for every one of you is this: do not take for granted the opportunity that is in your hands.
It’s not just the opportunity to teach and love a room full of kids. It is the opportunity to realize the potential of our schools. The urgency to move from a place of standards and test preparation, to a place of learning and purpose.
A place where you do less work because your students are doing more. A place where there are more questions than answers, and more “figuring it out” than “telling it like it is.”
Every last one of you has the opportunity to reignite the meaning behind “school.” And in the process reestablish your work as a process, art, and science that no technology can replace.
Do what is best for the kids and use your voice if policies and practices pull you from that mission. Expect vision, fulfill your own mission, and go into the classroom each day focused on “the now.”
The now for your students is this year, this content, this experience.
Let them be little, let them be kids, let them be learners. Ignite their passion for learning and take time to listen to their questions and answers, and most of all their wonderings.
Hear their stories and make this year matter. Not only to each student but to your community, your heart, and your profession.
These are pivotal years for everyone. Do your best, and realize that might mean letting go, listening more, asking hard questions, being still, and breathing deep.
Go get ‘em people. Your job is one of the most important on the planet.
Get out there, have fun, and make every moment matter.
An entire country of children and parents and caregivers stands with you. Let’s make this year one of great stories of our schools doing the best they can for all of our kids.