I drove home Monday knowing I don’t have absolutely everything ready for the year.

For some, this might seem a brash confession–with the current assaults on teachers, why would one readily admit she isn’t ready?

The answer is multi-layered. I’m not ready in part because I don’t know my students yet. I can anticipate all the needs in the world and still not be ready for the three or four needs I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know the dynamics of the computer-generated student lists, what discussion questions won’t work and which assignments I need to tweak.

I’m not ready because the subjects I teach–journalism and popular culture–change daily. I’m often overwhelmed when I look through my collection of links, trying to figure out which ones should be required discussion fodder and lament the ones that will never be explored.

And I’m not ready because I’m not sure, to do my job the way I think I should, I can ever be 100% ready. I could work around the clock for weeks on end and still not have my assignments where I want them, my website not quite as I imagine it, my lesson plans fine-tuned. And once the assignments start rolling in, I will never feel like I’m giving adequate feedback and I’ll often be in a state of “catching up.”

Yet I’m calm.

My students arrive in the morning, and though I’ve admitted here that I’m not quite ready for the year, I am ready for my students. Ready for them to walk in my door, ready to crack my cheesy first-day-of-school jokes, ready to teach, and ready to learn from and with my students. 

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