Gregg Witkin Shares Thoughts On The New School Year

Guest post by Gregg Witkin

You know it when you wake up, it’s that day again.  The one you knew was coming.  One moment it’s a ship off in the distance hanging onto your horizon, the next your riding its bow wave.  For some it’s the start of a new places, new faces, for others its like a warm blanket on a cold winter night.

This year for me marked my 14th as a teacher and 14th working for the same school.  Sometimes I just take a moment and realize how incredibly quick the past 13 have gone and pledge to do my best to hold on just a little longer to the moments that will highlight this next year.  I find that moment to be a precipice between summer and the start of the year.  For when I actually have students walk through my door my world doesn’t seem to stop moving until I walk out that door again next June.

I stood in my doorway to welcome my first class and in they walked, a fresh group of teens/young adults/gen whatevers with their whole lives in front of them.  I thought, was this going to be the year something incredible happens that will forever be etched in my memory or will it be a year that seems to fade somewhere in the middle leaving no true indelible mark.  Last year was a struggle at our site all teachers agree and this year we were hoping the mix of students would work to our advantage.  This group already had the feel of a positive beginning according to our administrators.  The students smiled, shook hands, there were even hugs.  It was a start, a positive one, one to build on.  To take advantage of as a teacher and use to my advantage to help them realize as much potential as possible.  It was time to get to work.  I even felt my world lunge forward as the brake lever on the year released.  I hope they were ready, I sure was!

I’ve had the luxury to spend my career at the same school and see all those who were there when I was hired, retire, move on, rise to district leadership, and far too many passing away.  At 38, I’m the old guy, the scruffy veteran.  The one who sometimes writes lesson plans on napkins while out to dinner with his wife.  Who understands, all rhetoric aside, that achievement is linked to buy in by both teacher and student.  In all those years I feel I have experienced quite a bit and still realize that there is so much more out there.

Adobe Youth Voices is a cornerstone to the technology classes taught at my school and we start right away getting our hands dirty.  With many of our students needing only 50-100 credits to graduate I have the unique challenge to only have them in my classes for a year or less (many a semester or less).   With drawbacks comes advantages and every person interprets those things differently.  Lets just say, there are many reasons I’ve been at my school for now 14 years.  With the students who are now in my technology classes I see great things happening.  I feel I’ve started the year out with kids who have seen the light and want to explore their world.  I promised them I’d work as hard as they do and some have already begun the pre-production process.  I can’t wait to help them see their projects though.

This year, we seem to have the technology nailed down a bit more and we are able to better use the CS4 suite (and hopefully CS5) more seamless.  The IT guys take hits all the time when things don’t go right so I have to mention when they do, so thanks guys!

I’ll finish by saying, I’m looking forward to working with the other Adobe Youth Voices Lead Educators, they left me this summer with more energy and inspiration than I could have ever imagined, I felt lucky to be included.

Have a great year and may all your files render quickly.

Gregg Witkin
Adobe Youth Voices Master Educator