“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
These words were first uttered to me by the man I will always refer to as my mentor teacher, the one most responsible for me ever wanting to be a history teacher in the first place. As I confessed nervousness and disbelief that student teaching was actually beginning, he said these somewhat cliche yet nonetheless true words. I was embarking on the journey to becoming a licensed history teacher, a goal that I had been pursuing for years.
But this week really felt like it was the beginning of the rest of my life. As I created syllabi, reviewed class lists, came up with desk arrangements, and bought over a hundred dollars worth of desk supplies at Staples, I realized that life was only just beginning. For the past few months I had been so focused on how sad I was to graduate and leave a school that had meant so much to me, that had become a home, and had made me into a person I am proud to say that I love. But in starting teaching this week, I realized that I’m going to be ok. I will always have my friends from college and memories to last a lifetime. But I’ll make more friends and more memories that will become just as cherished. I will start to cultivate young minds and try my hardest to inspire at the very least a respect, if not a love, for the study of history. I vow to let no student of mine leave my classroom and one day make a college writing tutor think, “How sad! They clearly never learned how to write.” There is so much to do, and in a way, I am excited that I’m only just beginning.
So yes, these are the first days of the rest of my life. It’s all about the baby steps – maybe my syllabus could have been clearer, so I’ll make it so next year. That seating arrangement didn’t work like I thought it would, so I’ll move a few people. It is all sure to be a learning process, but I’m ready. Bring it.