My Day 1: Teaching at Milton Hershey School
By Dave Bruce, MHS Middle Division Teacher
When I think back to my first year teaching at Milton Hershey School, I have so many memories. But when I think back to my first day with the eighth-grade students I taught in Middle Division, it is not the memories that stand out, but the feelings.
First days of school are always filled with energy and excitement. The school year seems as if it has unlimited possibilities for both the students and staff. Add to the mix having the opportunity to work at a school like MHS—one with such a powerful purpose and important legacy—and you can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed your first year. From the outside and the inside, our school is amazing.
But it is amazing for different reasons than one may think. From the outside, our school is simply too much to take in all at once. I remember taking a bus a tour during new employee orientation. In the middle of the tour, I thought, “If the driver dropped me off right now, I would be completely lost!”
From the large campus to the amazing buildings and resources, we are lucky. But over time, you learn that our school is not about what we have physically. It is about who we work with—both our students and the committed staff that supports them.
During the first week of my first year—on one of those days that I was feeling a little overwhelmed—a teacher who had been at MHS for some time, shared some simple advice with me.
“Remember that the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Hershey is not made up of all the things we have. It is the students we teach and connect with.”
Those words have served me well through the years, and I often reflect on them on the first day of school. It reminds me that our job as teachers, while complicated, is also simple. Stay focused on the students.
Now that the new school year has started, I am excited to see all the students. Our former students stop by to share a hello, a handshake, or a hug. But then, they are on their way to face the new challenges and excitement of a fresh school year and the work begins with a new group of students.
And the legacy continues from yet another day 1 to a new day won.