Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1st Day Reflection, Nervous Anticipation.

Yesterday was the first day of school. With that, I was nervous, anxious, excited and scared. I was worried about finding my way, making new friends, getting my lunch and getting to (and from) school without incident.

I had trouble sleeping, less of an appetite and overall my nerves were on edge. This was going to be a challenge to make it through the day!

Oddly enough, normally I handle stuff like this pretty well. Rarely do I get "thrown off course" in a new situation. However this year, and on this first day, it was different. I knew that I would have to get my arms around why my emotions were raised more than ever.
My guess is you have students and even colleagues (maybe even yourself)that felt the same sense of nervousness on their first day. That is to be expected.

The uniqueness here though, I am the Principal. I am in charge!

This is my 21st, first day of school. Professionally one would think I would have had this day figured out. I had done this before. Whether welcoming new students, working with staff prior to the opening days or having spent weeks preparing for this moment, this first day should have been routine. Yet, the nerves where there.

As day two settled in, I sat down with Chip, a colleague and friend and we processed the nervousness. His answers, our answers, our conversation is a testament to our role as educators. Here are our takeaways from our talk:
  • The desire for the day to be perfect. (Insert your definition here: _________ .)
  • Afraid to fail. (A glitch in the schedule or system as we know it happens.)
  • Accepting that failure is allowed and a part of the process of learning. (Builds trust.)
  • The desire to have a good, no great, first impression on each other. (A must!)
  • Wanting to share our passion with all of those we came into contact with. (A focus for the staff this year is Personal Passion, Professional Passion and Content Passion.)
  • To make sure the students that I/we met in the first part of our day felt the same excitement as those that I/we encountered at the end of the day.
  • Finally - to have fun, smile and be willing (and wanting) to come back for day number 2!
And with that, the reason for my nervous anticipation was answered. I had spent so much time preparing for this day because I wanted it to be the greatest first day ever. Not for me, but for those I am surrounded by each and every day.  My students and my teachers are my drive. They make me "tic".

As we wrapped up the conversation we both realized that the emotions I felt are more than just "1st day jitters". The nervousness that we experience is what drives us to work tirelessly for our students and our staffs to ensure that each day is their best day of school. In the end, every day should be met with passion and that nervous anticipation regardless of who is in charge.



  1. Great post, Craig! You nailed the many emotions that we feel as we start school. I love that you found the answer to why you had such nerves in your desire to make the day great for others. May your 21st year be your best year yet!

    1. Thank you Jennifer! It has been a great start, so far. We are fortunate to have the roles that we do. Passion!

  2. I enjoyed your post, Craig! This will be my 13th year as a principal and I still feel "nervous, anxious, excited and scared" to start each school year. Not sure if it ever goes away when you want all stakeholders to have an amazing experience. Thanks for the thoughtful reflection. Enjoy the year!

    1. Every year we feel the emotions rush through us. Regardless of our role, and who we are, nerves are to be expected during this amazing back-to-school experience. Embrace it!