It’s August 25th; and anyone remotely related in any way to childhood knows that it is Back to School Time. For real. The stores have been taunting us with this subject since mid June already, but now it’s reality time. If you are so blessed, it is time for new clothes, new shoes, new backpack, lunch bag, pencils, paper, and crayons. Learning, socializing, activities, schedules, routines, structure. The Back to School Time ought to be the calendar’s New Year. New beginnings and new opportunities.
For 44 years I was actively involved with Back to School time. As a student, as a parent, and as a teacher; Back to School was all the above and more. It was a life style. My bio-rhythms were set by the school day and the school year. As a teacher, I lived for the month of August. I loved all the planning and prep work that went into making a successful new school year. I taught 1st grade, so I also had the joy of making my classroom a fun place for my little ones. I would always start by picking out a theme with which to decorate the room. My last classroom was “Oceans”. I always thought that the theme lessons and decorating would make the classroom and the learning more appealing to the young ones. “Come on now, counting numbers on funny looking fish has to be more stimulating than counting plan old numbers on the chalk board, right!? ” Well, it was more fun for me anyway. My creative urges had full reign when it came to planning my school year, and making teaching aids for the classroom.
When I had to step aside from teaching due to health issues, I missed teaching terribly. I missed the activity, the children, the planning, the organizing, the learning, and the life style centered around the school year. I was a boat set adrift in the sea of life. I was lost.
It’s been five years now since I was in the classroom. Each year that passes has become a little easier for me to deal with life outside the classroom. In fact, each year that passes makes me a little happier that I am no longer in the classroom at this stage of my life.
There are two Kindergarten teachers living in my apartment complex. One teaches in the local public school, the other teaches at the parochial school where I taught for 13 years. I watch their comings and goings a lot. I know their routines based on my own experiences. I sit on my deck with my morning coffee and watch them scurry off to school in the morning. I go back for a second cup of coffee… When I come home from my part-time job late in the afternoons, I see them coming home from their long day at school. In the evening I sit with Hubby and crochet, read, or watch TV, knowing that they are busy correcting papers or planning tomorrow’s lessons.
This past week I had opportunity to take a quick browse through the school where I use to teach. It was Open House time, and all the classrooms were on display and ready to go. It was interesting for me to notice that there were no covetous feelings, no longings to be back in my old room. I didn’t feel the chalk dust coursing through my veins. There was no chalk. There wasn’t even a chalkboard anymore. White boards and markers, smart boards and computers dominated every room. New textbooks, new methods, new students, new rules. Nothing was the same. Nothing felt the same. I was completely out of the system.
I guess I must be Old School.
The year no longer begins at the end of August for me. It isn’t the start of a new school year, it isn’t the end of summer vacation. I watch the Back to School rush around me, but it no longer affects me. Life goes on the same. No changes. Gives one a sense of timelessness . Unrestraint time and freedom like a boat set adrift. Where, when, and how to set anchor in some other harbor will be fodder for another blog.
Have a good school year everyone!