Those few inches that separated me from the water were scary, but an inevitable part of flying. I knew they were coming every time I landed, but I always looked to make sure I survived. I have been told by many that my first year teaching will often feel like I am about to fail, crash, and burn (out), but I think there is a strength in knowing this. I am about to enter teaching ready to cry, worry, and look out at those few inches separating me and my students from failure and think, "We can do this, we can land safely and get to the next destination."
I obviously don't want to just "survive" my first year of teaching. I want to succeed, excel, and blossom into an excellent teacher, but I'm trying my best to be realistic. And I truly believe that this understanding, of how close I will be to danger, will push me to be a better and stronger teacher.
I don't know the next time I will board an airplane. But when I do I'll be ready to face that danger zone head on, whether on a plane or in a classroom.
(PS, you should all be impressed that I did not talk about 'soaring like an airplane' when I teach next year.)