Wishing You Many Fresh Starts

Happy New Year!

Yes—I know today is the 10th.  And this post was due on the 5th.  So I am officially already behind.  Thus it may come as no surprise that my topic today has to do with do-overs.  😀

We who work in schools have the benefit of starting fresh each school year: students move to new grades; we add new units of study or new materials to our toolkits; we welcome new faculty or those who move into new positions.  Teachers often wish one another “Happy New Year!” in August; often our calendars and planners begin this month, and there is a sense of clean slates and fresh beginnings.

And then by December we are thinking, Whew—Need a Reset!  Some things have gone well, and maybe some things didn’t, and maybe some things didn’t even quite get off the ground.  So we take some time off, read some books just for ourselves (see Allison Peters’ excellent post, “Holiday Break is for Reading”), and before we know it, there’s another Happy New Year, and another fresh start.  We can gather new ideas from our colleagues (See Dave’s post “New Things for a New Year)  We can even start all over with a new planner!  (See this excellent piece on The Wirecutter:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/smarter-living/paper-planner-guide.html)

The truth is, of course, there is always an opportunity to begin again, and that is one of the best lessons we can teach our students (and ourselves).  If we allow ourselves a fresh start now and then, we can accept the idea that progress is a process with many beginnings: we learn from what we do, and then we try something new, or refine what we’ve done.

For those of you who might like to have a party to go along with your fresh start, here are some dates to note:

  • Chinese New Year:  February 16
  • Balinese New Year:  March 1
  • Sinhalese New Year:  April 14
  • Rosh Hashanah:  September 9
  • Islamic New Year: September 11
  • Aboriginal Murafor New Year:  October 30
  • Diwali: November 7

But don’t feel limited by these dates; the point is that we have the freedom—the opportunity—even the responsibility to begin anew many times a year.

So, again—happy new year!


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