Funny how back to school time elicits a variety of responses, depending on who you are. If you are a student or a teacher, I think the above meme expresses our feelings pretty well.
If you’re a parent, your feelings might be closer to relief. The kids are about to be back in school all day and you no longer have to worry about keeping them occupied. It’s not so much of a problem once your kids get older and are a bit more independent, but I have a friend who dreaded the approaching summer months when her kids were young because she felt the pressure to keep her boys busy, otherwise their days would consist of spending it in bed or glued to the video game controller — or both!!
Because I’m off for the summer, I’ve been home to witness my daughter’s Netflix addiction metastasize as she transitioned into a creature of the night, so I have to admit I’m looking forward to seeing her get back into the routine of school and having some sort of purpose in life other than keeping up with the latest drama on The Fosters or Orange is the New Black.
Not that I’ve been uber productive myself. I haven’t done any writing and summer is usually when I begin a new project, but I’ve at least managed to create some new materials for the upcoming school year, taken three online classes, and I also started working with this great narrator to have Vegas to Varanasi made into audio, so I’m psyched about that!
As a teacher, feelings about starting a new school year are mixed. You (hopefully) look forward to seeing your colleagues again. (If you can’t stand your colleagues — sorry, that’s a drag.) And there’s this twinge of excitement about starting fresh.
“This year, I’m going to have all my students’ names memorized by the end of September!” Okay, maybe that’s not such an accomplishment to non-teachers. I just want to clarify that I teach middle school, which means around 160+ names to memorize. And my classes only last half the year, so at semester I do it all over again.
“This year, I’m going to greet every single student at the door every day so they all know I’m happy to see them.” Until that first day when you’re pulled away because a student from last period unplugged the keyboard and mouse from their computer and switched them with the one next to it, and the poor little sixth grader now trying to log in can’t figure out why nothing works.
I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, which means I often have students as 7th or 8th graders that I had in 6th grade, just for a different subject. So another one I tell myself each year:
“This year I’m going to pretend like the difficult students were never difficult in the past. No self-fulfilling prophecy for me! Everyone gets a clean slate!” This one’s a toughie, and I realize how tough it is when the school year hasn’t even started yet and I feel myself wince at the recognition of certain names on my class lists. Will have to work on that one.
Then comes the joy of setting up your classroom and arranging furniture. You’re excited because the carpets are clean and there’s no longer evidence of when little Johnny barfed at the front of the room last year, (though that neon green piece of gum on the floor by computer 17 still remains.) You make your way to your desk to find this mess on the floor, and proceed to curse and grumble to yourself as you untangle the disaster before trying to figure out which plug goes where. This is what I was doing yesterday. But on the bright side, I remembered my login! Some poor fella new to our school stopped by my room and asked if I had any advice because he’d locked himself out of his account. Sorry, new fella! You’ll have to hunt down Mr. Tech guy.
Back to school staff meetings/development… be still my beating heart! After looking at the agenda that we receive in the mail each year around this time, the schedule actually doesn’t look too terribly painful, but I’m pretty sure I can speak on behalf of most teachers when I say this is the least appealing part of the process.
What I find frustratingly funny is that teachers are the worst about talking during meetings. I mean THE WORST! I get it, the meetings are usually boring as all get out. Have I wanted to slit my wrists a few times during staff development? Of course I have! But I am quiet
in my discontent. I zone out and go to my little happy place if necessary, but I don’t talk through the whole frickin’ thing. How do people who spend their days reprimanding students who don’t pay attention and talk through their lessons sit there and do the same exact thing to their colleagues? Drives. Me. Insane.
So while I’m happy that I won’t be rotating through the various staff development sessions we have scheduled the Friday before school starts (because I will be presenting), I’m not happy that I will most likely have to talk over my colleagues (because I will be presenting). It’s a double-edged sword for sure.
And with that, I would like to leave you with this final meme that someone tagged me in on Facebook recently, and it’s soooo true. Pray for me as I embark on a new year with these little darlings we refer to as tweens, as I will pray for all the parents, teachers, and students who are readying them
selves for another year. Let’s make it a great one!
What are your feelings about back to school time?
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