Column

Welcome Back

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven . . .
—Ecclesiastes 3:1

Welcome back! Now that the tree has been chipped and you’ve plowed through what you know of “Auld Lang Syne,” it’s time to get back to work, lest “old acquaintance be forgotten.” The Christmas season and all things red and green (with the possible exception of Aunt Mable’s fruitcake), have a shelf life and must eventually give way to yet another season, each wonderful in its own way. Think about it. This time of the year you can either go to the gym and sweat off the excesses of the last few weeks or you can simply break out that bulky sweater your mother-in-law gave you for Christmas. For me, it’s all about the cardigan.

Another big plus in the falling temperatures is that it’s just too cold to play outside in many places. Consequently, you will have lots of time to follow your doctors’ orders and curl up with a bunch of good books and perhaps write an article or two. Few things cure the winter “blahs” better than a really good book or a satisfying paper explaining Sophie’s World. Such is the lifestyle of a lifelong learner. Welcome to the world of teaching.

In just a few weeks, brave little daffodils will stick their necks out of the cold, hard ground—an obvious lesson opportunity for sharp-eyed educators. Good teacher candidates are always on the prowl for an innovative way to get the point across. They recognize the teachable moments in the apparently ordinary, everyday events unfolding all around us. Seasons have a lot to teach.

Finally, in just a few short months, a warm spring sun will usher in another season full of promise and grace. Folding and putting away sweaters is a signal that one of my favorite times of the year has arrived. Just before some of our colleagues and friends parade around in long black robes and funky flat hats at graduation, we will take a break to observe the Easter holidays. This is the season of real miracles. Things that looked dead a few weeks ago will begin to sprout new branches. Tender shoots suddenly appear in some flowers—and some students—that have seemingly lain dormant all year. Good practitioners spot these fragile signs of life, hinting at real promise, and gracefully whisper, welcome back!