I can’t believe another year is underway. I am starting my 27th year teaching, and I am proud to say…I still love it!! I think one of the reasons I still enjoy teaching is because every year is always a little different. Even though this is my 3rd year at the junior high, we have made a change by blocking the Literature and English into one Language Arts class. This is a great change, and it will give us an opportunity to explore literacy on a whole new level. I also get to work with a nice blend of students I taught as 7th graders along with new faces. The changing chemistry of how students work together always keeps me on my toes and helps me keep it fresh and fun. I have some new tools and techniques I am excited to incorporate into our classes and hope everyone finds something useful on their journey. This is such a pivotal time for all of you as you transition toward your high school years and start thinking about who you want to be. I don’t just mean what kind of career you want, but who you want to be at your core. What do you believe in? What do you value? Who do you care about? What approach are you going to take when you face an obstacle? The coolest thing about humans is our capacity to grow and change in response to our experiences. Just like Brian in Hatchet or Maya Angelou in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, your experiences and the choices you make will shape your very identity. I hope your experiences in my class will give you the opportunity to explore your interests, desires, goals, dreams, and relationships while you build your reading, writing, and speaking skills. So…as the Joker says in The Dark Knight, “…And here we go”.