While at a restaurant earlier this week, I really enjoyed a conversation coming from the booth next to me. Two brothers were talking about the start of school. The soon-to-be first grader told the waitress he couldn’t wait! The soon-to-be eighth grader…not so much. It made me sad, and it made me think. As a teacher, I know we are initially given children who enter the school system excited beyond belief. Primary teachers know this to be true. Something, however, happens along the way that sucks the joy right out the learning process. I am aware of the reality that “school/work” can’t always be fun, but I am also aware that the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. How do I know this? I love my work. It is not always easy; it is not always what I expect; but at the end of the day, I am still learning, challenged, exhausted, filled and grateful.

The eighth grader was not looking forward to the start of school, but he was, dare I say, passionate and beyond excited about seeing a new movie about to be released. I wonder as both a teacher and parent, how I can do a better job of encouraging and exploring the interests of my students and children.

As a teacher, I am mandated to “cover” content, and as a parent, I have a schedule to keep, so time is a wastin’ – But, by slowing down and showing some interest in the passions of my children and students, perhaps some of that excitement will bleed into other aspects of their lives.