I have the map, the training, the curriculum and the rule book are in my hands. When those students walk in it is all up to me to determine the direction we will go and how we will all feel about the journey.
For the last 13 years I have taught 7th graders. They walk in baby 6th graders...scared, terrified that all the rumors they have heard about being a 7th grader are true, "There is endless homework, we will make you write in cursive and the pile of projects will break your backs and buckle you at the knees." Then they meet us...we aren't that scary of a group.
My school district, like many in the nation is in the middle of big changes. Three years ago our new Superintendent started a process called, "Strategic design" with the goal of transforming the district from a good 'ol boys club to a modern learning community. Change is painful. 3 years into the changes they are starting to make sense. This past May I was given an opportunity to move to 8th grade US history. I am working with a friend who challenges me professionally and makes me think deeply about what I present and introduce to my students.
It has not been an easy transition. I know it is worth it because I have seen the map and I know the journey will be powerful for me and my learners.