Can you hear the squealing of bus brakes?
Do you remember that sound? Can you ever unhear that sound?
Has your neighborhood endured school buses stopping at the corner, children racing to opening doors, and kindergarten moms screaming good luck? Maybe you also noticed some parents’ tears as you looked out from behind your living room blinds.
Maybe those tears were your own.
Yes, it’s true. The first day of school is upon us.
In fact if you’re in my district or one close by in the Richmond, Virginia area, you too will begin your year on the day after Labor Day. In my county alone, 59,000 students will arrive at their school for the first day – that’s a lot of energy, anxiety and excitement.
Others in private school have already started their first day and I expect have probably nailed down procedures and begun earnest teaching.
For me, I’m still wondering where the summer went. Maybe that’s the same for you and your child.
The first day of students arriving to the sound of the school bell seems to sneak up on us every year. Perhaps because teachers are lulled, much like our students, into thinking that summer is endless. I know when I was younger, I felt that way too. Frankly, I still think that way.
I clearly remember the last school day this past June and how there was cheering while the buses left the building. There was singing, there was crying and there was joy – for students too.
Summer began that day. Vacations to places far away would be taken. Tans were achieved. We were able to spend some time with our own children. Doctor visits were scheduled. Errands were run on weekday mornings. We even marveled at how “the other half” go to lunch on weekdays, seem to enjoy their meal, and return back to their office – quite amazing to see.
Today, this first day of school, students (and yes, teachers too) are woken up at an early hour. An hour that seems inhumane to most. There’s complaining about it being too early from many while there are others that throw back the sheets in celebration.
New outfits have been laid out next to the bed. Or old outfits are pulled off the hangers and thrown on. Hair is carefully combed with just the right amount of product while others might just forego any sort of hair prep. I myself am sporting a beard longer than ever that takes way too much primping for someone my age.
Day One. A hundred and seventy, or so, to go until Summer vacation arrives yet again.
Each year I hear colleagues complaining about returning to their jobs after being off for a couple of months. I hear the same from my own children. Part of me thinks “get over it, you’ve had lots of free time”. Part of me understands completely.
We like our freedom. Freedom to schedule our days to include what we want to do. Isn’t that what we all really want?
Of course for some of you at home, freedom is returned when those children get on the buses. Your quiet time has been returned to you and for that I say – you’re welcome.
So whether you are seeing your first or last child off to school, whether this is the year your child enters high school or whether you dropped off your child at the bus stop.
Here are four teacher facts on the first day of school that I hope you’ll remember and be reassuring as you watch your child leaves for school.
1) We strive to be ready for your child’s arrival. Your teachers have been preparing their classrooms for over a week. Some even came to work well before their teacher work week began. It’s not that they were excited about working in the un-airconditioned rooms, it’s more about taking the time to get it right. Some even went to their classroom this past weekend to be sure all was in order – I did that.
2) We’re more than interested in your child being successful, we want them to leave at the end of the day wanting more. This past week class rolls were given and staff meetings introduced the year’s focus. In our district we ventured out into other schools to mingle with colleagues and learn new approaches that would better connect with students (my take away was the excellent teacher resources at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts). Bulletin boards were created and posters hung. We participated in teacher learning sessions and set up our gradebooks. Lesson plans have been made and get-to-know-you worksheets are already sitting on desks. Teachers have worried about being ready and shared that they wished that they had more time.
3) We want your child to feel welcome. On Tuesday morning, we will stand by our doors and welcome this year’s group to their seats and warmly introduce ourselves as their teacher. We have thought about the importance of students feeling safe and how we will encourage them to ask questions and take risks. The first day is planned – in fact every minute of the day has been thought out. We will be writing down bus numbers and re-checking those lists as they board those buses for home.
So as the sound of the bus becomes faint as it leaves your neighborhood, please know what we teachers await your students arrival. Then the school bell will undoubtedly ring and class doors will close officially beginning what we hope will be a memorable first day.
So whether elementary, middle or high school… 4) On this first day of school I want you to know that we care about your child.
Here’s to a great year for you and your child.
Have a great story to share? I would love to hear your thoughts on the first day of school. Please take a moment to share your comment.