It’s been almost two full weeks since my Facebook feed exploded with “first day of school” pictures A month since our youngest went back to his school. Middle has been observing/assisting for three weeks in her assigned high school classroom as part of her teacher education.
But I feel like I’ve missed the back-to-school train.
Back-to-school was a fixture, a touchstone for me for almost all of my 50 years. It started, of course, with my own anticipation of a new teacher, a new room, new routines, new supplies, new clothes – every autumn without fail. As sure and certain, and almost as exciting, as Christmas.
The delicious lure of the “hallways of learning” continued for me even after I finished my own schooling and began my teaching career. The joy of planning bulletin boards, centers, lessons. The eternal mystery of new students – which of the names on this class list would test me daily? Which would be my new soulmate in a deep love of books? How would I manage to challenge the exceptionally bright and still bring along those with low ability? Fascinating stuff.
And then my late (though creeping up earlier every year) Augusts changed their focus – back to school for my own little ones. Helping to build their anticipation and excitement for their new classroom each year. Carefully checking off every item on their supply lists. Choosing exactly the right folders, binders, pencils, gym shoes. Helping them make the transition between the endless, hedonistic days of summer and the regulated, intense days in school.
Those days are gone – all of them – and I miss them. Back to college is just sad and lonely. I don’t teach in a school setting any more. So I’m seeing back-to-school only from a distance now, with warm memories as I view friends’ photos and listen to their stories. My lifelong love affair with back-to-school season is hard to let go of.
Thankfully, two of our three plan to teach. Soon they’ll be setting up their own classrooms, and I know they’ll share all their anticipation, all the joys and sorrows as they get started. I also know how much physical labor is involved in creating your own classroom, and I might even get to lend a hand with that aspect, as well. And then one day…grandchildren and a whole new cycle will begin.
And back-to-school will make a happy return to my life. Can’t wait.