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The Perfect Start to My School Year

The other day a teacher caught a glance of my school year calendar. He was taken aback by the format. The calendar has two columns running from July to December and January to June. July (and a little bit of August) is highlighted entirely in green, my favorite color.

“What’s that mean?” he asked.

Most of my teachers at the school where I work as a literacy coach three days a week forget I spend other days supporting other districts. I highlight each day with the color of the school I am working with so I can quickly get a glance of my week, my month, my year. (I'm a planner, after all). The green, though, is my vacation. My happy place. My protected family time.

“That’s when I’m away with my family,” I said.

“Right,” he continued. “But why start the year that way? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have July, your vacation, as the last month on the calendar so you are working towards the best stuff?”

“Oh… yea. That’s a mindset choice.”

He looked confused.

“If I put July at the end, then I would live the year as a race- trying to get to the sweet spot. But like this, with the green first, I enter every year with joy and calm and gratitude. Grateful that I have extended time off each year, refreshed from long walks and slow runs, and calm from realizing I once again do know my children well.”

“Wow, that makes a lot of sense,” he said with a quiet sigh.

Every September in schools is a hopeful time. But lately it also feels increasingly hectic. I come across teachers who begin sentences with, “There’s so much to do… I’m already behind… I can’t finish this…”

They aren’t wrong. There is so much to do. They may in fact be behind.

Yet our mindset is critical for setting our tone with students. I tend to enter schools every day with an enormous smile on my face. Not because I’m happier than others, but instead because I have a daily reminder, my calendar, of how perfectly my year began.

In July.

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