September Time

Inspired by Beth Lyons, this year I’ve also committed to a #onewordX12 goal. Last month, I spoke about embracing uncertainty. Fluctuating numbers in COVID cases and awaiting word from Hamilton Public Health about restrictions, meant that we entered the last week of August uncertain about specific protocols. Sometimes protocols varied even within hours based on statistics and safety considerations. I get it, but I’ll also admit that this made planning hard for my teaching partner, Paula, and I. Even though we’re comfortable with not having everything figured out, there was still discomfort when it felt as though we had nothing ready. Terry Whitmell left a comment on this post that helped us reframe uncertainty and reminded us of what makes the unknown better: the kids.

She was absolutely right, and we even reflected on this as we got ready for our first couple of days with kids.

While we had a great couple of days with our kindergarteners, we know that next week is our first full week with everyone.

  • There might be tears.
  • There might be difficult goodbyes.
  • There might be additional student stress, which could present itself in any number of ways: from unexpected comments to outbursts.
  • There might be additional parent stress, especially depending on how students respond to returning to school. No family member wants to leave a child in distress.

And so, for the next few weeks, I’m going to try to embrace one of Paula’s favourite words: time.

  • The time to get to better know our students: new children and returning children.
  • The time to allow all of us to adjust to the classroom, to each other, and to the current protocols.
  • The time to breathe, the time to move, the time to play, and the time to observe and listen closely to figure out what might come next.

As Paula and I were reflecting after school the other day, we remembered what September is like … be it in the time of COVID or not. It’s easy to remember what our JK students were like at the end of the year, but what about at the beginning? What about when a number of them are still only three-years old? Our youngest learners are even younger right now, and they need our time, support, care, and patience, maybe even more than at any other point in the school year.

And so for now, I’m going to look back and remember these highlights and others from this past week: reminding myself that with consistency, routine, and time, our little kindergarten community will continue to grow.

What helps you provide the time for adjustment at the beginning of a new school year? While I might have a goal, I could use some words of advice about how to best slow down.


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