The Smell of New Crayons
Take a mental field trip with me. Let’s walk down the school supply aisle and take a long look and a deep breath. Do you pick up the crayon boxes and flip through the notebooks to get a whiff? Does it make your heart beat just a little faster to check out the colored pens, highlighters, and sticky notes? I admit it; I love the office supply row in any store. Even if I have a desk full of brand new notepads and colored pens, I can always use a few more. So what is it that gets teachers and yes, even students, excited about starting a new school year?
It’s the fresh, white sheet of paper when an author begins a novel. It’s the blank canvas before a painter makes the first brush stroke. It’s the beginning of a Pinterest® board when planning a party or a wedding. It’s the trip down the fabric aisle at the hobby store or the smell of pine at the home improvement store when choosing a new project to start. It’s turning the pages of the recipe book when deciding what to create in the kitchen. In short, it’s the endless possibilities laid out for the taking.
Teaching, more than almost any other profession, is cyclical with defined and obvious beginnings and endings. The school year calendar can be a little like a roller coaster, with ups of excitement and possibilities and lows of self-doubt and fatigue, which can be even more pronounced for those who supervise teachers. If only we could capture the aroma of new crayons and the excitement that goes with it to release it later in the year to reenergize our teachers and ourselves. I want to argue that with a few simple steps, we can do just that.
Choose your favorite way to collect your thoughts as the new year is launched. It might be in a fancy new notebook with colored pens or it could be on a computer or other device. Even if it’s just a sentence or two, encapsulate the unique emotions that accompany a new beginning. It’s one of the sweetest moments of being in education and has the potential to be a powerful reminder of why we do what we do. Rereading these words in January can provide unsurpassed motivation to allow us to continue to support and inspire our teachers.
Snap a few shots of the empty hallways and decorated classrooms ready and waiting for new students. Make surprise visits to teachers’ classrooms and capture their faces as they make final preparations for students to arrive. You now have a cure to bolster the mood of those same teachers when they’ve had a particularly rough grading period or difficult parent conference.
Write a note to your future self
If you supervise science teachers, you know the time of year when you will need the most encouragement. Maybe it’s just before the science fair, right after spring break, or in the weeks approaching state testing. There’s no better time than now to wrap the gift of inspiration to bolster the future you.
A quote from publisher Katharine Graham reads, “To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?” Let’s be purposeful and intentional to continually remind ourselves that what we do really does matter, and it’s fun as well. (But it’s even more fun with a brand new box of crayons.)
If you’re looking for a quality day full of energy and learning, join us for the Region 4 Science Conference on October 17.