Coming back this fall after a year of difficult challenges, I was apprehensive about my ability to start fresh with my new classes.  But the first week of classes is over, and I feel that my efforts to offset the sense of burnout and frustration were effective (so far anyway….)

I knew that I was bringing emotions from past semesters into the new year, and I didn’t want to do that – clearly not fair to my students.  I worked hard to let go of that feeling of … to be honest it was dread … at  the possibility of having more severely troubled students.  While understanding that we are facing larger and larger numbers of students with varying degrees of mental illness helps keep me from ignorantly judging students with mental illness as big fat jerks, it doesn’t help me know how to help them, or even survive them with my love of teaching intact.

So, throughout the summer I just kept handing my concerns over to God.  Asked to be able to see these students clearly, not through the shadow of former students’ troubles.  I thought about their excitement, their uncertainty, their hopes and dreams.  And I learned techniques to ground myself and protect myself from others’ negative emotions.  I promised myself and God that I will stand in His Love as I face His children and pray to reflect that Love in my teaching.

Another component of the less-than-eager mindset was having taught the same class from the same textbook for the last eight years (goodness, I fell asleep just writing that sentence.)  We have new textbooks, and even though I don’t think I like the primary one very much, at least it is something new.  Hopefully it will trigger new and better teaching methods this semester.

So… fresh clean attitude, new books, hi ho here we go.  If anyone else has realistic techniques to refresh the teaching spirit, send them this way.  And I’ll let you know how my path progresses.