That first day of school is approaching.  And with it comes many thoughts and feelings: worries about everything that needs to be done the first few days back, excitement about what will be accomplished in the coming year, and images of students past and the joys they brought us.  But for me, after all of these years of teaching and all of those “first days back to school,” the most powerful thought – a thought we teachers all share – is hope.  Yes, hope.  Each of us, as we walk through the doors of our school, embodies the remarkable sentiment of William Purkey when he stated that, “Education is fundamentally an imaginative act of hope.”  Hope for what the coming school year will bring, hope for what our students will achieve, and hope for what we can help each of those entrusted to us become.

We envision what the future holds for every student by setting goals that some may think improbable or too difficult.  But with our encouragement, enthusiasm, patience and kindness, those goals become their reality.  That’s how important you are in the lives of every child you teach.  That’s what makes teaching far more a calling than a career.  That’s why each of us – at the very core of our being, on the first day of school and every other day – understands and exemplifies those extraordinary words of Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” Welcome back to the first day of school, to what’s possible, to the first day of what every student can be, because of you.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music and Director of Bands. He has also been named Director of Education for KHS America. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”

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