When the Back-to-School ads come out, so do the teachers. We hunker over the newspaper inserts of Target, Office Depot, and Staples cutting out coupons and making lists...15 cent spiral notebooks times 25 kids ( up 5 cents from last year), Ticonderoga pencils, crayons, markers, large paperclips, Expo markers in pretty colors, erasers, colored pencils, novel Post-it notes, Mr. Sketch markers and chisel tip large Sharpies for the charts, and anything else that we believe we need to enhance our teaching.
Yes, we do count down the days to summer vacation, starting from the first day of school. "Only 179 more days left" you'll hear chanted after school that blessed day. "How many days left until vacation?" is heard several times a year and "One trimester down, two to go!" We can hardly wait to get all the children on the bus the last day, ready for a well deserved vacation, but come the end of July we begin to emerge waiting for those ads to show up on our door step. We begin to fill in the dates of our plan books, looking back on last years to see what we did.
We might forget the classes of our first ten, fifteen, okay twenty or more years, or even last year's class remembering only what we want to remember. It's sort of like childbirth. This is done to protect ourselves. Our brains are reluctant to dredge up the memories of the obnoxious helicopter moms who circle round and round as we walk down the hall, the kid who puked on our new shoes or all over the kid next to him/her. The student whose only words were: "That's not fair!" [read the wall kid- 'Fair is not the same, fair is based on need.' You need to shut up] The kid who stole our best scissors, best paperweight, money, gum, candy, whatever, and then lied to your face. We also forget your face, so if you come back to visit you need to tell us who you are as you did not have porkchop sideburns in the fourth grade. That I would have remembered!
But emerge we do in early August. We begin to show up at school slowly bringing in the school supplies we've purchased because unloading it all at once would look like we raped and pillaged an office supply store. We slowly put up bulletin boards that welcome students, copy worksheets for the first week, organize our desk drawers (this only lasts about 20 minutes), arrange and re-derrange the desks as we hear about our new students from previous teachers, make up schedules, class lists, pick out books to read, and think to ourselves that perhaps THIS is the year we'll stay organized. HAHAHAHAHA!
Yes, each year we tell ourselves we won't buy any more teacher books, or supplies, but we do. Each year we vow to love something about each kid, and for the most part we do. Each year we tell ourselves we will have the best year ever, and sometimes this actually happens, but we are creatures of habit starting in late July with the ads, and moving through the year until that last day, day 180 when we whoop it up as the kids leave our carefully planned nest, knowing the circle of life will start over again.
The Mighty Fourth Grade Spelling Bee winners from
Mrs. Billington's class. Second place, fourth, and first place!