There are many reasons I find great joy in my job as a school librarian. At the top of the list is that every twelve months everyone gets a fresh start. How many people are lucky enough to say that about their career? Come the start of the school year, all is forgiven, all is forgotten, and there is undeniable excitement about what lay before us.
In some ways it makes me think of camping when I was a kid. My folks made it a tradition for us to go camping at the same time and with the same campers every year. The anticipation building up would be almost unbearable, then there would be so much to do and so much fun, the time would just fly by. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up, say our sad goodbyes, and immediately begin dreaming of next year. That childlike excitement is how I am blessed to feel about my work year after year.
At the end of the school year and beginning of summer, I review the year with my principal, prioritize goals for the coming year, pack up my workspace, celebrate with students during end-of-year events, pass along good summer wishes to fellow staff members, and everyone lets go of any residual feelings of disappointment. It is a time of closure and feeling a sense of release.
So what happens in summer? Ahh, that would be everything, and yet only what is wanted, right? It is a focus on family and friends, trying to reconnect and gain forgiveness for any neglect that occurs during the school year. It is a time to actually curl up to read, and actually finish, a book. And sometimes being a rebel and not even reading a book for young people or educators, but instead an actual, bona fide adult book like other grown-ups get to read. Doing my heart’s desire professionally. Not what somebody said to do, but the things that tantalize, like attending library conferences and workshops, lunches with fellow librarians, EdCamps, online learning, planning and scheming for the next year, digging around online for ideas, participating in events at the public library, and, most importantly, regaining my vision and recapturing my youthful exuberance for the coming year.
Boy, I could think forever about what didn’t go well during the last school year, but time and space allow for a thoughtfulness not possible in the rush of the school year. In hindsight, what would I have done differently? Time allows for a separation of emotions and intellectual thoughts become more clear, as I contemplate what I could have done better. This is the time to indulge in dreams and a chance to develop a vision for the future, which will arrive soon enough.
No matter what happened last year, this is a new year and a clean slate for both young and old. Smiles on faces. Hugs in the halls and classrooms. Picking up again as if no time had gone by. Reunions with familiar faces. New faces looking for a friendly place. Electric energy throughout the building as we anticipate what could be, what will be, and what is to come. Anything feels possible. Everything is possible. The potential is palpable.
Yes, the end of summer is the most wonderful time of the year. A time for letting go of the past and dreaming of only the todays and tomorrows. A time for beginnings, not endings.