Most mornings, I regularly do a walk around the classrooms. It’s something that let’s me take the pulse of the school so to speak, but I also do it because it makes me feel good. I return to my desk with renewed purpose in my day and contentment knowing our students are in such good hands. Today was one of those days. As I walked around the classrooms this morning at about 9:30am, I was awe struck by the engagement the children were showing on their first day of a new term and a new year. It was almost as if they had been here all along over these past 7 weeks. The children were so eagerly choosing materials and getting down to work—without too much coercion from teachers; that’s how self-motivated they were. The atmosphere was truly remarkable.
Fortunately, our students returned with very few surprises. Familiar faces met them in every classroom and even our new students settled in with relative ease. Our staff returned last week refreshed and eager to greet the children and hear their holiday news.
A holiday break is often filled with opportunities to experience new things and connect with old friends and family members. As parents and children shared their holiday stories today I realized how important it is to hold on to certain experiences as a means to motivate us through the year. We all changed our pace in some way and will have gained something from our experiences. My own holiday experience in Myanmar earlier this month opened my eyes to how incredibly blessed we are in such well-resourced schools such as ME. I visited two schools in rural parts of Myanmar where materials and books were all but absent, yet beautiful children and innovative teachers found ways to make education happen. How proud these children were to read aloud to me from a well used (and soiled) photocopied paper with barely-legible text—their only reading material. This was an experience I hope will stay with me a long time as it helps me achieve a healthy perspective on the world we live in.
I hope you are all looking forward as much as I am to a great 2014!