‘Twas The Night Before School Starts: One Educator’s Reflections by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead

3 years ago
‘Twas The Night Before School Starts: One Educator’s Reflections

Tomorrow is the first day of the academic year, my 20th in education. To say that I am grateful to work with young people would be an understatement. They give me so much hope for the future.

As all teachers know, the period right before the start of a new school year is hectic as we prepare for our students’ return. Along with our preparation comes reflection and anticipation and wishes for our students, too, because if you’re in education, you think about your students, even before you’ve met them; you care about them long before you’ve spoken their names aloud, whether they’re 4 or 14 or 21. 

On this night before school starts, my hopes for my students are these: 

  • That they recognize their strengths and have confidence in themselves.
  • That they’ll realize that education is the key that will open many doors for them and that they won’t take it for granted.
  • That they’re kind and that their kindness is returned to them.
  • That they’ll choose their friends carefully.
  • That they’ll recognize that learning happens both in and outside the classroom and will join a club, attend a performance or guest lecture, volunteer.
  • That they’ll ask for help when they need it so that those of us who have made education our life’s work can support them the best we can.

On this night before school starts, my message for my fellow educators is this:

  • On the hard days, remember why you went into education. Remember the first child whose life you changed for the better.
  • Know that you’re not alone. Lean on your colleagues.
  • Know that even when it may not feel like it, there are students and parents and administrators who appreciate you and what you do. 

You’ve got this. Happy first day of school.

Photo: Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead and VCU Honors College students  

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Katie Sloan
I love your outlook! Great things are in store for Humans of RVA this year!!
This is just awesome
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
YES! To all of this! Choosing friends carefully, asking for help - those are two things top of mind for me as my daughter starts her new school. Thank you for sharing these wonderful insights, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! Congrats on year 20. You are amazing!! xoxo

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