54 Day 1’s

It’s odd.  I’m entering into my 35th year in education, not to mention the 19 other years as a student.  That’s 54 years in schools.  54 first days of school.  54 new beginnings.  That’s a long time.  I hope that I never lose the nervous excitement and the anxious energy that comes with the start of a new school year.  When that “buzz” is gone, I will know it’s time to step away.  “Starting over” with a new job adds additional layers of both excitement, anxiety, and nerves.  It’s also a time of opportunity.

geoff first day

54th First Day of school! Backpack packed, new shoes, fresh haircut!  It’s all good!

That was my opening line to the high school faculty this week.  First impressions count, perhaps my reference to 54 makes me seem really old….wait…I need to check my license to verify my age.   It’s true, I’m 59. I’ll turn 60 this year.  I see on facebook that high school friends are all turning 60.  Me, too, I suppose.  59 – 5 (or so years)=54 yrs – hence the round figure of 54.

In our first days with all of the new teachers/administrators who just arrived at the American International School of Johannesburg, we participated in an activity.  We were requested to line up according to the number of years we have worked in international schools.  30 years overseas….that’s me.  30 years ago we arrived at the American Embassy School in New Delhi for a two year adventure.  We lasted 3…and we’ve been overseas ever since. Needless to say, the line of 25 educators stretched from 3 days in international schools to my 30 years!  How did I all of a sudden become the oldest person in a room of teachers and administrators?

But, turning to the number 54.  54 first days of school.  35 as an educator.  Wow.  That’s significant.  I must really know a lot about this world of education. How can I not?  I’m sure tht  Years = Maturity = Wisdom = Intelligent Actions (hopefully)

I know a lot about first days of school, that’s for sure.

I remember the first day of Grade 6 in the middle school in Highland Park. It was a brand new building, we were the first class.  Mrs Raymond was my teacher. What was so memorable was the new facility, way across town, a long walk, and most importantly, we were able to change classes for language, reading, and a few other things.  It was a big deal. I remember the first day of high school, trying to figure out from the list where I was supposed to go and being afraid of the Seniors in the big high school hallways. I remember my first arrival at the University of Michigan and meeting Bill Metcalf who was to become my closest friend for many years.  I remember many moments of first days with students as a professional, each one full of excitement and nervous energy and optimism.

The rhythm of schools is brilliant – new beginnings, new opportunities, fresh enthusiasm.  I’m so lucky to be in this profession, recharging batteries each June and July, pushing my learning throughout the year, supporting, teaching, guiding, celebrating the work and growth of young people.

I do feel fortunate AND I better get to the gym to continue my fight to convince myself that 60 is the new 40!





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One thought on “54 Day 1’s

  1. Geoff — this is So Well Stated! Most teachers who love their jobs would agree that the newness/freshness of each year is one of the real perks Of the job…
    Thanks for this one.

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