Each new school year brings excitement and plenty of jitters.
The year was 1983, and I was a recent graduate of Capital University who sat in the Gahanna Lincoln High School auditorium excited to start my career after spending two years substitute teaching.
The excitement was real as I looked forward to making new friends and meeting my students and their parents. My emotions were mixed, as I was as anxious as I was excited.
While new beginnings can be exciting, they can be scary, as well. Would my colleagues accept me? How would they view the new guy who drove a '72 Vega with all the options? She was a beauty with a dent in every door, a cracked windshield, a gas rag hanging from the gas tank and a bent hood because the latch didn't work. I knew I had to prove myself and hoped my new colleagues and parents wouldn't be judgmental.
This year, I saw those same emotions in our new staff during orientation but knew they would be pleasantly surprised as they got to know their colleagues.
What I learned 36 years ago holds true today. Teachers and people who work in the field of education are service-oriented people who are kind and accepting. I have worked as a teacher, coach or administrator in six districts and all of their staffs had two things in common. They had an unconditional love for their students and took great pride in their students' success.
My educational travels have included stops in the districts of Hilliard, Gahanna, Westerville, New Albany, South-Western and here in Whitehall. Each of those districts have talented and dedicated staff members, but the staff here in Whitehall takes a backseat to none of those.
Recently, I was on a walk with our treasurer, Steve McAfee, inspecting the new construction here in our school district. Admittedly, neither of us have much skill or expertise working with our hands.
McAfee had commented about his appreciation for people who can build things that will be here for the next 50 years. He said, "All we do is push paper around on our desk."
I thought about that for a moment, but then I realized that those in our field are building things, as well. We are building a better future, and teaching is the profession that makes all other professions possible.
As your children are settling into their school, know this, the staff members at your child's school understands feeling of excitement and anxiety. It is normal and our staff are well-equipped to make children comfortable and build on their excitement.
Whether you are a parent, relative or a friendly neighbor, we invite you to join us in the awesome work of guiding and inspiring our youth to dream, grow and become successful adults.
It's important to understand that opportunities to encourage a child or give a child guidance doesn't stop at the classroom.
Some of our youth are very impressionable, and we must always be mindful of our words and actions around them.
I invite you to join us as a community that creates success for every student, every day.
Brian Hamler is superintendent of Whitehall City Schools.