“The first day of school should be a positive celebration of the beginning of a new year,” Miller says. “I don’t try to be PollyAnna because that isn’t my style, but I do try to keep things light and positive.” Still, Miller will never forget the first day of her first year as a teacher. “I was pretty much given a book and a room. Everything went fine the first few classes, but in the middle of the day, the students just kept walking in—I ran out of desks! It was standing room only and I had no idea what to do,” Miller recalls. “Everything worked out by day two, but to this day I have nightmares in August about classes with hundreds of students coming in and me trying to keep them from leaving!” See what I mean? We all get nervous. With good reason, my students and I will spend 180 days together. In many ways, I’ll get to know them better than their parents do. I’ll see them when they struggle and when they succeed. They’ll see me when I’m full of energy and passion and when I’m tired and cranky. It will be my job to prepare them for next year, for college, for life beyond.