New Year’s Day Monday

I won’t be drinking champagne Sunday night. Or watching a diamond studded ball ball dropping at Times Square on my TV at midnight. At midnight I will be sound asleep.
That’s because I will be up bright at early Monday morning. There’s no room for a hangover on this New Year’s Day. I have to be at my best.
At 8 a.m. I will step in front of a college class to begin my 26th year of teaching at the community college.
I can’t wait.
Maybe it’s because I did not become a full-time professor until I was 40 years old, but teaching communications skills to kids longing to get into this business is no where near out of my system.
Truth is, I think I’m just getting good at it.
That’s my goal, or resolution of you wish, at each New Year of teaching: to be better than the previous year. To tweak every class I teach. To polish up the things that have proven to work, and trim away those that don’t. To try a new wrinkle here, and iron one out there. To add this, prune that.
In short, to approach myself with the attitude of that frisky song T&A in the musical A Chorus Line: keep the best of me, fix the rest of me.
It’s the same at the beginning of each term.
Some may think the best part about teaching is the summer off.
It’s not.
The best part about teaching is the recurring fresh start.
Twice every year, ever since I took a whopping pay cut and left a career in journalism for one in higher education in 1990, my job has consisted of starts and finishes. Twice a year, a semester begins afresh and 16 weeks later comes to a conclusion.
What a fabulous way to work.
I had a similar sense of starts and finishes working on a weekly newspaper. We were constantly sprinting to a finish line, catching our breath (translation: grabbing a beer) and then starting over again.
Life is sweeter when filled with fresh starts.
The more New Year’s days the better.

Ed Ackerman