Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on Geneviève DeBose’s blog, Back To The Point, on September 6, 2016.
Today was technically the first day of my 13th year as a middle school teacher. I use the word technically because no students were at school today, but our hallways and classrooms were filled with colleagues buzzing about getting ready for the arrival of our scholar activists. It felt really good to be back.
Usually I end the summer reluctantly. Of course I’m happy to return to school, but who doesn’t want just one more week of summer? Strangely, this year feels different. I was ready to come back. Looking forward to it, actually. I can’t pinpoint exactly why. Regardless, it feels good to want to return to school, to want to see my colleagues, to want to meet my kiddos.
Maybe it’s because I really love my school. It’s a place that’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a professional environment where I feel safe, respected, and welcome. Maybe it’s because I have such wonderful colleagues. Some have been in the classroom for over 20 years and others are starting their first.
Maybe it’s because this year we’re returning to a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop in our English Language Arts classes. (Can I get a what what?!?!) I am jazzed that we’re returning to structured time for students to simply read, write, listen, speak, and think critically. I’ve missed it so!
Maybe it’s because I adore the south Bronx. I love my communities of Hunts Point and Longwood where there is passion, culture, fire, family, success, struggle, and endless potential.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting married in less than five weeks and something inside me makes me think that this year (the lucky number 13!) may just be the year that I find a work/life balance. (I’m hopeful that Teaching Channel Laureate Crystal Morey and her #TchWellness work can help me with that too.)
Maybe it’s because I’m a member of the most influential, intellectually challenging, rewarding, and joyous profession.
Maybe that’s it. I’m looking forward to returning to school because, at my core, I’m a teacher. I want to learn. I want to grow. I want to get better, and I want my kids to join me for this lifelong journey.
I’m hopeful that this year the “burden” of teaching will be lifted off my shoulders and I can return to the joy, the process, the discovery, and the rewarding growth that come with spending my days teaching and learning from some of the most beautiful, creative, curious, passionate, loving, and lovable people on the planet — my middle school students.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m committed to posting a blog at least once each month on whatever is happening in our world, and maybe even starting an #AskMsDeBose monthly video series, inspired by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr.’s #AskOdomJr series.
I’m looking forward to a year full of beauty, deep breaths, and breakthroughs. I meet my kids on Thursday. Send us love.
Geneviève is an educator, artist, and activist who has taught middle school for over a decade. She is a proud National Board Certified Teacher and U.S. Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow. Geneviève strongly believes that education is a tool for social justice and empowerment, and that learning experiences for children should be culturally relevant, student-centered, and interactive. She started her teaching career as a 1999 Teach for America corps member and currently serves as a commissioner on the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Geneviève is a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in New York City. Connect with Geneviève on Twitter: @GenevieveDeBose.