543. August Dreamers

Have you ever gone into an elementary school during the last few weeks of August? There may be teachers there. You probably won’t see the teacher who starts each school day a few minutes before children arrive and/or ends it by rushing out to the car to get out before the buses do. Those teachers may not have the kind of dedication that gets them into school in August.
Before I go any further, let me pay tribute to the exceptions. For a few years, I was an exception. I arrived at school with my daughters, worked in my classroom while they either helped me or did their own things, and then drove them to school at the appropriate time. I got back to my own school just in time to look as if I was only coming to school when I had to. And I left right after school, to get my daughters, but I often returned to work in my classroom again. I think and hope that my daughters enjoyed that time.
And there are other reasons some dedicated teachers may not be seen in school before or after hours, or during the summer. Some teachers are so organized that they don’t have to. Some work at home. It’s not unusual to see a teacher head towards his or her car after school carrying a huge pile of papers and books – what she/he needs to prepare for the next day/days. So teachers who aren’t in school when they don’t have to be don’t necessarily lack dedication.
But if you do stop in at an elementary school to see what’s going on in August, you may see teachers working hard. Maybe back in June and July they thought about the school year they just finished, and maybe they have dreams of embellishing what went well and correcting what didn’t. Maybe they’ve taken courses, read books, talked with other educators, and/or spent time thinking, and they’re determined to make the year about to start so much better than the year that ended in June.
Teaching well takes a certain amount of optimism. We have to believe that children can learn what they haven’t learned yet. We have to believe that we haven’t already thought of everything that could work for every child in every situation. And so the August dreamers work in their schools to build a September (and October, November, and so on) that will be better than the ones they’ve had so far. This year, they’ll connect with the child who hasn’t connected with teachers yet. This year, they’ll plan and teach in a way that works for every
child. And they’ll only volunteer to do important things that they can and want to do.
I’m a volunteer now, and I don’t have to do what I don’t want to. Next week (the third week of August) I’m going to go to the Fort River School and see teachers. I miss the children, but I also miss the August dreaming teachers do, and I want to be part of that.

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