Last summer I wrote a lot of teaching related posts on this blog. I talked about classroom libraries, nonfiction books and assessment. I made countless book lists. I wrote to reflect, to make sense of things and to share. Looking back on those posts, it seems like I knew a lot and had much clarity around what I wanted to discover and figure out.
This summer, I have been quiet. School related thinking has been about boxes and change and a whole lot of unknown. I have more questions than boxes and I had a whole lot of boxes. If I were to start a list of what I don’t know, I wouldn’t know where to begin and no idea where to end. I forget to breathe just thinking about it.
Knowing and not knowing is full of confusion.
I don’t know my students. I don’t know this community. I don’t know the routines and rhythms of the school. I don’t even know the full capacity of what I don’t know.
My ignorance is a safety net.
There are many things I couldn’t pack in those countless boxes. On the eve of the new school year, they swirl around me, reminding me that they won’t walk through the door with me tomorrow. They will nudge me to the corner and then stop and watch. I am on my own. Knowing I am without them.
How strange it will be to walk into a school after a long summer break and not have children rush to me with happy smiles, big hugs and bubbly chatter. I will be other in a place I am wanting to belong. It has been so long since I have been a stranger.
Knowing and not knowing is lonely.
I have not brought histories with me. Knowledge and experiences of the dramas and the traumas we have lived through and learned from. I can’t hold up pieces of art, books from the shelf, photos from the wall and ask, “Remember this?” We don’t yet have memories. We don’t have favourites. We don’t have anything to smile back upon. Everything is about forward.
Relationships are the ticket to everything. This, I know. Yet, tomorrow, I will walk in to this new school with no relationships. I did, however, leave many behind. I have walked from a blooming, bursting garden full of blossoms and prickly bits to stand in front of a patch of soil that looks, right now, just like dirt. Likely, it is full of unknown seeds that will begin to sprout. I need to discover the right balance of water, light and space.
I need patience and faith.
And time, of course. Always time.
I left familiarity.
Understanding of place.
The comfort of what is known.
I now wait in this strange place between knowing and not knowing.
Ready for forward.
Ready to know new things.