Welcome back! After over 25 years as an educator, I always struggle to sleep the night before the first day of school because I feel anxious about so many things. Will I remember what to do? Will I bond with my class? Will I be able to light the fire that is a love of learning in my classroom? How can I show my students that we are in a safe space where we can learn from each other? Will I be able to empower my students with the tools to leave the world a better place than they found it? Even though I now teach in college rather than in a high school classroom, as we head into the 2021–22 school year I can already feel myself getting nervous about the first day of school. Like many of you, this year feels a little more intense because although I taught virtually throughout the last year I have not been in a physical classroom with students since before the pandemic. Many things have changed since March 2020 and I have a lot of questions about the upcoming year, but mostly I feel joy that I get to be in the presence of students again as we all forge ahead together.
Speaking of together, this past year the CFE team concentrated its efforts on providing virtual programming that was both relevant and helpful to future educators and their advisors. After closing out the year with our College and Career Readiness Workshop Week in May (videos available on our Resources page), we ran our Tomorrow’s Teachers instructor training program and the Future Educators Academy for a small but mighty group of students in June. Over the summer, we were hard at work planning for our programs, fully redesigning our website, and sending event information to principals and advisors across the state. We look forward to continuing our virtual Speaker Series throughout this year and returning to our in-person student conferences in March and May. I’m also thrilled to introduce our Educator Summit in January, which will be for both P–12 and higher ed faculty and staff involved in teacher education/preparation to discuss what we do, why we should collaborate, and how we can strengthen the pipeline of future educators. How exciting! Although our large-scale in-person events are still a few months away, I would love to visit your NJFEA chapters and Tomorrow’s Teachers classes to learn what your future educators are doing and share our upcoming events. In the meantime, applications for NJFEA State Officers and CFE Student Ambassadors will be open in September and we can’t wait to welcome our newest student leaders.
If you get the chance, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how you are and how we can best support your chapter. While my anxiety about the first day of school happens every year, I know that I am not alone and by the end of that very exhausting first week of school we will all realize that things are going to be fine. Take a deep breath, everyone. We got this!
For now, let me wish all of you a happy and safe school year. Teach on!