Welcome to the new school year | Guest Column

By Danna Diaz

School superintendent

As the new superintendent of the San Juan Island School District, I am excited about Thursday, Sept. 3. It is the first day of school!

There is nothing like a fresh beginning – and the start of each school year gives us the opportunity to recommit to those things which brought us into this profession in the first place. Whether we are in the classroom or leading a bunch of classrooms, driving the bus, providing maintenance to our buildings, serving as a crossing guard, food service professional, budget manager, office personnel, or a paraprofessional in the classroom… and especially as a parent…we are teachers.

Teachers who make a difference in the lives of students. We are teachers who recommit to the joy of our profession. Kids are funny – they make us laugh (even when we shouldn’t). They are weird. They are afraid. They make noises. They come from every imaginable circumstance. Yet, they all seek out our love and respect and approval (one way or another). We are teachers. We smile. We laugh. We take breaks to tell stories and celebrate the mystery called learning.

We are teachers who recommit to slowing down yet keeping an engaging pace, to checking in more often, and to going deeper with our best resources rather than working too hard to find more stuff. Students respond to the rhythm of our learning organization. They crave community and friends and want to participate but only do so when they trust that it is safe. We celebrate the mistakes and learn from them. For isn’t that the very definition of learning after all!

We are teachers who recommit to learning from our students and from each other. Every year we have new puzzles to solve: why is  content just plain hard for students? How else could I teach this? How do I give students choices but hold them accountable for the same high standards? We are teachers. We are at our best when we share our best and learn from the best. We are exhausted when we try to go it on our own. This week marks the beginning of a new year. Let the fireworks go off. We are teachers. We make a difference!