Monday, April 21, 2014

S: And, so it Begins...September!

In this post, I describe what it is like to go back to school, after having a summer's worth of time to live my own life and think my own thoughts.   It is the companion piece to my earlier post, J: June and July, which was about the odd transition I go through when school closes at the end of the school year.

And, So It Begins

In Ontario, Canada, the new school year begins on the first Tuesday in September, after the holiday known as Labour Day.
Autumn mere days hence.
The last, fleeting warm, golden days of summer usher us back into our familiar academic surroundings.
We are rested and ready.
New ideas and endless possibilities abound.
It is time to begin anew.

The classrooms have been washed;
the floors, waxed and polished to an icy sheen.
The ghosts of the previous year have been exorcised;
only clean shelves and empty desks stand
where once there were beating hearts.

The stillness is inviting;
like a clean page to a writer
or a blank canvas to a painter.
What will be created here?
Will it be Art?

Other teachers slowly filter in.
Acquaintances renewed.
We all move slowly,
our thoughts like honey.
Although we are here,
Summer has not released its' grip upon us,
We convene.
We discuss school-wide topics 
amid tales borne of camp fires and sun-dappled shoulders
We finalize schedules for the Gym, Library, Computer Lab and Supervision Duty,
while the sun shines beyond our windows
and the students continue to play.

We return to our empty rooms,
our heads swim with thoughts.
We draw up our own classroom schedules;
the outline of this year's story, beginning to emerge.
We arrange the furniture
creating learning centres and working groups.
A learning environment appears
where yesterday, there was only emptiness and echoes.

My first day back,
a week or two prior to the arrival of the children,
draws to its' conclusion.
It may not even be lunch time yet but,
the desired effect has been achieved;
although the sun still shines and radiates warmth,
Summer's pull is beginning to ebb.
My world feels different,
I am back, even as I leave the school.
My thoughts no longer solely my own.
They belong to the children, as well.
I must learn to share, again.

I sigh.
But, I smile, too.
As wonderful as it is to be on vacation,
being at school,
with the children,
gives my life a sense of purpose.
It is an opportunity to give thanks,
in a tangible way,
for all the good I enjoy in my own life,
at home,
away from school.

Fast forward two weeks,
It is the night before the children are to return.
A new journey, about to commence.
A new adventure begun.
A restless night's sleep,
the night before that first day,
is the price paid for my fare.

Soon, I will meet twenty, or so,
of the most important people in the world.
To some, I will change their life
and, for me, I will hear their song forever and for always.
Together we will all grow
we will all transform;
our lives forever altered by the act of community
in which we are about to take part.

The alarm clock sounds, 
ending a fitful night of tosses and turns.
The sun is shining
the air is warm
But, it is Summer no longer
for any of us.

We rub the sleep out of our eyes
We dress ourselves in smiles and hopefulness.
We return to school.
The school returns to life,
filling with the energy of a
hundred hearts beating
and a hundred minds racing.

The bell rings.
Everyone heads for the entrance doors.
The first words in this year's story
are being written
with each step taken,
with each anxious look
The children enter their classroom,                          
their eyes and minds wide open
I smile
and begin to speak.
And so it all begins................                                  

***My daughter (yellow boots) enters her school on the first day back.

Ask any teacher, newbies or the experienced pros, and they will all tell you the same thing:  no teacher sleeps well on the night before the first day of school.  26 years on the job = 26 lousy sleeps the night before the journey begins anew.

Do you have any vivid "first day" memories?  If so, I'd love to hear all about them in the comment box below.  Thanks, as always, for your kind words and for taking the time to read my work. :)

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