50 First Dates is a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. The main characters, Lucy (Barrymore) and Henry (Sandler), find love working through Lucy’s very serious short term memory loss. As a result of an injury, Lucy’s memory only lasts one day; as soon as she falls asleep, her brain “reboots” back to the day the amnesia began. Henry falls for her, but must continually introduce himself over and over, thus making each of their “dates” their “first date.”
25 First Days is my schoolhouse version of this movie.
This academic years marks my 25th year in the classroom. 25 First Days of new names, new students, new colleagues, new rules and new hope. 25 First Days that allow me to “reboot” and start fresh. And, for me, this is a good thing.
Memories and experiences from all my teaching years shaped who I am as a teacher. I would say that it is less memory loss and more about learning as an educator. Just as I encourage my students to do… I work to enhance my strengths and develop past my weaknesses and constantly embrace the opportunities to be a little bit better than I was last time. This is for each year, each day, each lesson, each class period. The ability to “reboot” serves as a way to keep me fresh and excited about my chosen profession. Proudly, each year I say: I am a teacher.
In the past 25 years, I have had contact with nearly 8000 students. I have seen reform, change, gains and losses. I personally had great years and some not so great. Fortunately, I still really enjoy what I do and it is hard to imagine doing anything else. And while much has changed over the last 25 years, I believe much has stayed the same (for better or worse).
Things that have changed
- Reform of the moment (seriously… 25 years of what’s next?)
- Teachers have become the problem in education according to many reforms using modern media to bash the profession.
- Technology and opportunities to connect with students and their families in new and meaningful ways.
Things that remain the same
- Kids want to learn and do well
- Teaching is a lifestyle which includes long hours and students always on your mind
- I can constantly improve a lesson (and try each year to do so)
- Great teachers and mentors inspire me to do more.
25 First Days is an accomplishment. Saying the number blows my mind a bit because 25 is an adult number…many years. Lots of time. And it may mean that I am closer to the end of my career than the beginning. The opportunities still exist to reboot. Even if it is over a weekend, an evening or just the next class period. Like Lucy in the movie, our brains can record new memories while still accessing older memories. For this reason, every first day is new. For me, for my students, and for everyone.