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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I wish we had the same school/seasons as the USA sometimes! As an Aussie teacher I think that Christmas takes a huge chunk out of my holiday time. I am so busy buying, wrapping, cooking, visiting that I don’t get a chance to just relax, unwind and reflect. I do love Christmas (most of the time) but I wish it wasn’t in my big teaching break!
Thank you Boy Mama, Teacher Mama and Trinity Bains for sharing! This post was exactly what I needed to hear. I have been a teacher for 8 years and after having my son this past fall, I decided not to return to work. However, now as everyone is heading back, I am having a really hard time with it. I miss everything you talk about. The re-connecting with teacher’s, laughing till you cry in the staffroom, chats at the photocopier and of course setting up your classroom. It doesn’t help that school supplies are in every store you go to, Pinterest and Facebook is filled with back -to-school ideas and so on. I’m a new mom making an adjustment from being career focused to staying at home. Some where along the way I have lost one identity and I am taking on a new one. It’s a journey that has it’s ups and downs with questioning myself if I have made the right decision. So thank you again for sharing. I am glad others are feeling somewhat the same as me.
I am so glad I have found your blog!
Transitioning from being a teacher to a SAHM is huge. Give yourself time and find other moms in the same situation and you will be on your way. Somewhere down the line, after you figured out the SAHM thing, you will find another identity for yourself- I did! That is how I got into blogging. Best of luck. Enjoy your little one and enjoy the journey!
I’m really excited to have found this blog, as it feels great to meet people going through similar things, but also having other grown ups to talk to. I think a large part of my problem is no grown up interaction anymore. Trisha, I know how you’re feeling! I’m going to just keep reminding myself of how I felt when my oldest daughter was born. Staying home wasn’t an option financially. It absolutely broke my heart to pass my her into someone else’s arms, and took several months before I felt comfortable. Keep in mind, the lady that kept her is an angel and I trust her completely. It’s just that I felt like I was forced to give up my child for other people’s children. I’m saying all that to encourage you (and me!), so that we’ll know we’re doing the BEST for our children. Like Boy Mama said, we’ll probably be better at our jobs because of this time. I wish you all the best-enjoy that beautiful baby!
Wow. Thank you both for your comments. I truly appreciate them and I know that I am a very lucky mom to be able to stay at home with my boy!
And, boys are sooo great! 🙂
I loved that part of teaching too. It was such fun to unpack my classroom and get it ready for my class.
Mmmm New stationary.
Good any time of year 🙂
It’s so ironic that I just stumbled upon this particular post. I too am having bitter and sweet memories of my classroom. This is the first time, in over 10 years, that I have NOT returned to the classroom to teach. We (my husband and I) decided that I would stay home with our youngest, for one year, until she begins kindergarten next fall (we’re in MS, so it’s August for us). I’ve spent the last two weeks feeling so sad about my school babies and so out of sorts. It’s probably a case of the “grass being greener on the other side.” If I were teaching, I’d be sad about not having the baby with me. I think I need to just zip up my mouth and be thankful! 🙂
I completely understand where you are coming from. Enjoy the time with your little one- the classroom will be there when she is in school full-time and then, image what an even-better teacher you will be having had that time to see things from the parent’s point of view. Believe me- I have learned a TON!!! Thanks for sharing your story. Hope you will come back again!
Naww, you’re making me want to be a teacher! I’m a Wildlife Ed Officer but it’s not the same teaching in a classroom, having teacher freinds and support. It’s not that I don’t love my job, I do, so much but your world seems so alien to me. Yet my teaching prac gave me a glimpse and in that glimpse I liked it. One day I’ll be a teacher in a classroom. I’m just not ready to give up the animals yet!
Oh Penny= what you do sounds AMAZING!! I would love to do what you do! And, teachers don’t have to be in a classroom…. 🙂