January 1st has never meant much to me. I usually spend the night before at home, I go to bed before midnight, and I rarely make resolutions. I’ve spent my life in schools – nineteen years as a student, twelve as a teacher, and thirteen as a head of school. I know that the real first day of the new year is the first day of school.
How can noisemakers and party hats compare to new pencils and lunchboxes, books waiting to be opened, fresh boxes of crayons and dry erase markers? What better party than children gathered together in the school yard sharing stories of summer? And I’ll take squeaky new sneakers over a fancy dress every time.
Resolutions? At the start of the new school year, teachers are overflowing with plans and kindergartners, sixth graders, and seniors are filled with hopes. We all know that New Year Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep but the start of school is followed by ten months specifically designed to foster discovery and growth.
I go to sleep easily on December 31 but on the night before school starts, I lie awake, eagerly anticipating the new pencils and books, the children’s smiles, the energy of the teachers, the relief of the parents, and the beginning of something truly new.
Happy First Day of School! Happy New Year!