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Back to School Letter from the TAGT President

For most, the beginning of this year was January 2023, the Year of the Rabbit symbolic of longevityprosperityhopepeace, and calm.
But then, I am not like most people. I, like you, am an educator. My year is the academic year and according to my planner, that year begins in August. And as one would expect, the texts, calls emails, calendar reminders, and such began rolling in last week right on cue.
For most, the beginning of this year was January 2023, the Year of the Rabbit symbolic of longevity, prosperity, hope, peace, and calm.
 
But then, I am not like most people. I, like you, am an educator. My year is the academic year and according to my planner, that year begins in August. And as one would expect, the texts, calls emails, calendar reminders, and such began rolling in last week right on cue.
 
My first appointment of the academic year was one of the best that I have had in quite a while. It was a meet-up at one of my favorite coffee shops with one of my favorite people. A first-year teacher who landed a position at a GT Magnet campus wanted to pick my brain. Questions ranged from differentiation to student engagement. But the best, and perhaps the toughest question, was what I would tell my younger teacher self.
 
And as my calendar continues to fill with meetings focused on planning for the upcoming school year, in a couple of these conversations a question was asked, “What is your favorite way to decompress?” Favorites ranged from exercise to playing music while driving to sitting outside with one's favorite beverage. Preferences involved alone time as well as connecting with others. None really centered around work.
 
As I reflected on these two conversation threads, I realized, my approach is rather fitting in this Year of the Rabbit. Over the years my longevity as an educator has been supported by a mindset of prosperity in terms of openness to grow and change, a continued framework of hope for what I do as an educator with my students and colleagues, and striving to continue a balance of inner peace and calm within myself, even in the midst of stress; remembering that it is good and necessary to decompress. The appointments, meetings and responsibilities as an educator will fill up those spaces in my daily life. What I also need to schedule are the times to break away from work, to take a deep breathe and enjoy the outdoors, the music, the people around me, and my time alone.
 
As we move into the 2023-24 school year, remember to add those spaces to your schedule. Also, know that you always have a place to turn and an association that supports you. TAGT is here to assist you as you grow and change as an educator, no matter your circumstances. And we even have times to decompress and enjoy one another at our events!
 
I could say that I need to “hop along” to the next appointment, but that might be a bit much.  Instead, I wish you all the best as you begin the new academic year!
 
Christina T. Dearman, PH. D.
TAGT President

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