Amazing how many similarities can be drawn between the first days of school and spring training in Major League Baseball. In some ways, teachers coming back for our six workshop days is akin to pitchers and catchers reporting shortly before the rest of the team. The first day of school is essentially the full roster reporting for spring training, with the month of September - in many ways - plays out like baseball's spring training. Getting students acclimated to a new grade, school and surroundings takes a little bit of time, along with some brief reviewal of concepts to shake off the cobwebs.
Besides some of the procedural similarities, other common aspects of both spring training and the first days of school that have always struck me are emotions like hope, enthusiasm, & optimism. Just like every Major League team feels like they have a chance to compete for the pennant, new students (from our perspective) and new teachers (from the kids' perspective) brings the opportunity for new learning, achievement and experiences.
My goals every year are simple - sustain those emotions for students throughout the year...foster that hope, enthusiasm and optimism for learning each and every day, if possible. Second, to help them grow and achieve at as high a rate as possible. Like a good manager, this means putting kids in the best possible situations to learn, grow, and achieve all year long; coaxing the best effort out of them, and helping them see themselves in the best possible light.
That said, I suppose I'll keep the polyester pinstripe pants at home...