Year 10. Let's go.

This September marks an incredibly gentle start to my tenth year.

The academic calendar is full of blocked-out closings; Jewish holidays plus the Pope's visit to Philadelphia allow for fewer than a dozen teaching days. A three day weekend, followed by a four-day weekend, followed by a five-day weekend.

The school gods are letting me ease back in for this one. In the previous nine years this has been far from the case.

Year number ten. School number three. The relief of not feeling quite so new anymore.

At this time last year I was expending all of my energy, and digging deep into the reserves, to keep my head above water. And I'd be lying if I said I was succeeding before, like, February.

But now. I spent most of last week giving attention and care to my students, making sure my advisees are set up for a great 11th grade year. Navigating rosters, adding and dropping courses, setting up internships, checking in on all of the feelings.

It was hectic yet peaceful. An I've-got-this kind of busy.

We have some rockstar new teachers at our school this year, and I'm finding myself very aware of their ... um ... eager apprehension.

That feeling isn't very distant in my mind. It wasn't so long ago that my eyes were darting confusedly around the room, that I had no idea what we were talking about or voting on during staff meetings, and I was filling notebook pages with questions to ask later.

I got to have some PD time with the new teachers before school started. I was glad to convey to them: If I can survive the madness of my story, then you're already eight steps ahead, and you've totally got this.

I spoke the mantra that helped me at least three times.

When you're new you have no idea how much is actually on your plate. You're swimming through a creek, which feels like doggie-paddling across the Pacific. Everything is hard, the small stuff is in your way, and even when you're doing it right it doesn't quite feel successful.

Year 10 so far reveals a comfort in the chaos. A calm in the constant running. I'm nervous about some of the new challenges I'm taking on, but ready to prove to myself that I won't screw them up. Because I've already survived, I have in the recesses of my mind an understanding that I'm okay.

So yeah. Here goes. Let's do this.

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