For 21 years, I have taken part in the first day of school as either a student or a teacher. When I was growing up, my mom created “Erin Patterson Day”. We would go get my schedule, shop for school supplies and the all-important first-day-of-school outfit, and go out to lunch. My college days were spent with roommates and my then-boyfriend, now-husband, traversing campus to get books, id cards and parking passes. And for the last five years I set up camp for a week in a classroom that almost always smelled of mildew, spending time decorating, organizing and planning until, ready or not, my own students arrived.
This year is different. I am a student again, but part-time. I also have a full-time internship, and rather than taking part in the annual back-to-school shopping extravaganza, I’m scouring Amazon for the best deals on used books. It’s weird, but in a good way. After two weeks of “firsts”, I decided that I need to start writing again in order to collect my thoughts.
While I will surely miss the day-to-day interactions, struggles, and joys of teaching, I am excited to focus my attention on learning again. I have already been challenged to narrow the focus of my academic interests, while broadening my policy perspective. Through these limited experiences, I am reminded that I don’t know everything. Yet.