Back to School- Bitter and Sweet
I have a little bit of time to myself this morning. This is a time to be treasured. I am sitting in Starbucks sipping my favourite drink and watching the people walk through the harbour. I am sure most of the people I see are business people on lunch break or tourists, but there are also groups of school children as well. Here (Australia) the children have been in school for a stretch of almost 10 weeks now and will be having a break soon. School goes year round here with breaks throughout the year. This time of year, everyone back home (USA) is gearing up for the start of the new school year.
Back home, this time of year time was always bittersweet for me. Bitter because the summer was coming to an end and the days of sleeping in and sitting in the sunshine were through. Sweet because I was once again united with my dear teaching friends, Fall was on its way (that means Halloween and my birthday folks!) and, yes, new school supplies arrived.
Yes, you read that right new school supplies. At the end of each school year we always received a chunk of money to order supplies for the new school year- markers, pencils, notebooks, paints, books, poster and other classroom supplies. What fun it is to look through the school supply catalogs and pick out new things for the next year. As summer rolled along, I always forgot about those supplies. But in the meantime, the supplies had been ordered and delivered and waited for me when I returned to my classroom for the new school year.
In late August all the teachers slowly returned to the classrooms to prepare for the coming year and to open those wonderful boxes. It was like Christmas in August! I would tear open the boxes and spread the contents on the empty tables which would soon seat my students. I would organize, sort, label, and put them in their proper places. New books went on the bookshelf. New notebooks, binders and workbooks were labeled and put in the student’s cubbies. Posters and other decorations were hung on the walls. Art supplies were put away for the appropriate time and new pencils were sharpened and put with the new markers in cups on the student tables.
I loved this part of being a teacher. The only thing that was better was being reunited with my fellow teachers. We would share stories of our summer adventures, listen to the latest school gossip and go out for long lunches and leisurely walks around the campus. We definitely spent more time chatting than working, but the comeraderie it established set the tone for the whole school year to come. For these were the people that would love and support you when a student was trying or a parent lost their temper with you. These were the people you would celebrate the happy times with and they were the people who heard your saddest stories. These were the friends that always had treats in their desk to share and would gladly watch your students for you while you ran to the copy machine or bathroom. These were the people you could talk to about the latest issues in education and what happened on Grey’s Anatomy the night before. These were the people who became your friends for life.
So on this day as I sit here remembering this bittersweet time of year, I will say thank you to all the incredible, inspiring, dedicated and loving teachers I have met throughout my career and as a mom. You all are amazing, amazing people and teachers who give so much of yourself to many, many lucky children.
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