The countdown to new learning began early this morning. Today was the first day of 2013-14 school year in my home town. As I drove around the village today, I noticed the same traditions being honored that I have witnessed for several decades. There were the sounds of children and parents buzzing about the new school year, the sight of the crossing guide holding her hand to stop the traffic, the manicured lawns of the school buildings, book bags filled with new supplies, and the sunlit day shining with promise of a new year. With delight, I passed by wondering how time passed so quickly. It seemed as though it was but a short time since my own children were on those street corners eagerly approaching their school buildings. I smiled as I drove by each building reflecting on past opening days and my own back to school rituals. There were the multiple preparations for students and in later years, staff. There was the back to school letter, the readying of the classroom or office, the preparation of the book bag, the countdown, and the usual interrupted sleep patterns the night before the opening of school. The memories of each phase of the cycle of learning were so vivid and intense. Yet, there was no sadness in these recollections. September has its own uniqueness as it allows for summer to pass into autumn with hope, renewal, and new knowledge. The annual cycle of learning begins anew in September with the each teacher as the change agent for learning. As a craftsman, "The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind." (Kahlil Gibran)
In those early morning moments, the pulse beat of hundreds of young hearts waiting for the doors of learning to open was felt and the thoughts of wise facilitators of learning were heard. I looked beyond each scene and pondered an infinity of thoughts, knowing that educators have the ability to mold minds and transport students to a deeper realm of understanding. And so on the first day of school each September, the countdown to learning begins with purpose, intent, and passion. In the hands of educators, the future of children lie. May the dream for tomorrow be that each teacher and school leader arrive at a new level of understanding, leading students into a learning space of wonder, discovery and inquiry to prepare them for what lies ahead.