I don’t believe there is a more apt comparison to returning to school than a sharknado. I saw this disaster-satire movie when I was visiting home, trying to absorb as much American culture as possible and thinking there had to be a way to tie this ridiculousness into a blog entry.

Here goes. It’s back to school time and our stomachs are in knots. (Except for those taking sabbatical). Let’s call those knots sharknadoes.

For administrators, your sharknado might be;

the counselor who quit in July
the teacher who is going on maternity leave next week
the gymnasium construction that is way behind schedule
the local government hassling us over visas
the parent on the board who is already making life difficult
the last minute budget changes

For teachers, your sharknado might be

the new job in a new school in a new country
the new apartment that is much smaller than the one you had last year
the incoming new Head who you’ve heard is going to make a lot of changes
the new classes you have to teach with a new schedule
the angst of leaving extended family or sick relatives after summer break
the uncertainty of wondering whether this will be your last year overseas

For students, their sharknado might be

anger at parents for taking him/her to the third new school in five years because of another job transfer
fear at having to make new friends yet again
sadness at leaving a country that he/she understood the language
uncertainty at entering a new grade in a new school
anxiety at wondering if he/she is going to graduate this year

We all walk around in the same buildings with our own personal sharknados swirling around our heads, the gnashing jaws just missing us as they fly by (you have to watch the trailer to get a visual). Sometimes it seems all a bit silly and sometimes very real and scary. But what I do know is that it is our job as adults to put aside our sharknados during the first delicate days of school and to help fight off the ones swirling around our students.

It will make you a hero.
It will give you perspective.
It will remind you why your work is important and that maybe there really is no such thing as a bunch of predators flying around in a storm.

Have a good start.

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