Sponge Bob and School

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The first day of school is upon us.  And I have been so busy trying to get summer projects completed, I really haven't had much time to reflect on the first day.  So today I made it a point to really think about the message I want to send. To this end,  my inspiration has come from my son.  You see, in addition to Monday being the first day of school for our students, it is also his birthday.  Every year he gives me a theme and I create a cake for him.  This year he asked for Sponge Bob.  Oh Boy!  Well, I pulled off a decent cake to give homage to Bikini Bottom but as I worked on it, I thought a lot about the draw of this crazy show to kids.

What struck me was the undeniable friendship between Sponge Bob and Patrick.  They do goofy things together, they back each other up, they have disagreements, they reconcile, they have adventures, they laugh.  A lot.  And it struck me that this sort of unconditional friendship is exactly what I want for our students.  There is so much in the news about kids not feeling as though they "fit in", being bullied, ostracized, made fun of.  That is not the world that I want our students entering, creating, or sustaining on our campus.  Rather, I want our students to feel that someone has their back, someone gets them, someone will laugh with them, someone will give them a hug when they are sad, someone will cheer them on when they take risks, someone will celebrate with them when they achieve.

I have people like this in my life.  Some of them encouraged me this past week with great messages:

Everyone deserves this kind of encouragement every day.  So as the new school year dawns, this is my goal: find ways every day to let people know that someone cares about them and will support them.  I am going to add this student dimension to my focus points for my walk-abouts.  This way while I am connecting with teachers and letting them know that they matter by visiting their classes and having meaningful conversations about their lessons, I can also spend time with students and let them know that they matter.  

Last year I spent a lot of time focusing on the adults.  Thanks to my son, I realize that I need to more actively engage the students as well.  I am lucky to work with a group of adults who do put students first.  But I personally am feeling pushed to do more.  I work with lots of students when they are struggling academically.  But what about before that struggle?  And what about the students who never have to come to my office?  I need to take a more proactive role this year.

So here is to the start of another amazing school year.  To conversations, friendships, laughter, challenges, failures, achievements.  And here is to the students that make it possible for us to have such great opportunities year after year.  We are truly blessed as educators.  


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