View From The Glen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The school bell tolls for thee...and thee...and thee

I don't know about everyone elses children, but mine were happy and excited for school to start again. Tuesday morning came bright and early after our last salute to summer weekend away at the cottage (one last swim in the lake--somewhat more refreshing now than it was in July, one last kayak against the backdrop of yellowing birch, one last attempt to catch and study the water snakes--we failed - they're too quick).

There's a great Vinyl Cafe story that Stuart tells about Marley wanting to make sure the first day of school is perfect for her children, and I get that. It's about starting the year off on a high note, about setting the stage for a successful year. Nutritious dinners and early nights, laid back non-rushed mornings, favourite sandwiches, and a bookbag full of fresh school supplies...these are the things that we do as if they are a talisman against things ever going wrong.
First day of school 2011

I called the school last week to find out what classes they were in, because they deal better with the first day knowing what to expect. I don't understand why some schools won't tell you until the day of school - it seems a bit over controling to me. (Then again, maybe it speaks to our reluctance to relinquish control of our kids' lives that we want to know in advance as much as possible.) And judging from what I know of their respective teachers, all three are in for a year of top notch education with teachers who will inspire and challenge them and their abilities.

My 1st day pic - at the insistence of the kids

This morning I was back in the classroom too, facing a fresh new cohort of students some fresh out of high school and others transitioning into college from the work force or other university programs. One of the many things I love about teaching is that sense of anticipation, of optimism, and of hope that crackles the air this time of year. Students in their new indigo jeans with laptops and books and plaid jackets crowded the campus and the place fizzed with excitement. It's now wonder back to school feels like the real start to the year.

Here's to September.


Leanne Haines said...

There's something about this time of year! I just love it! I wish I was experiencing it in a classroom, too, but I'm finding ways to make September about making a fresh start right here at home.

Bibliomama said...

I loathe and despise the way our school does the first day. Nobody knows anything, we all stand outside the gym doors until they open them, creating a huge bottleneck as we all crowd inside, then walk around looking for the list with our kids name on it. But they both got great teachers, and the relief I felt when I got to walk out of that gym somewhat mitigated my sadness at not having my kids all day. My mind loves September, my brain chemicals not so much.

Finola said...

Our local school is one of those that keeps the teachers and class lists TOP SECRET until the first day of school. The reason is that parental involvement in this neighbourhood can be over the top ridiculous. I think the staff spends as much time managing parents sometimes as they do teaching the children. So when a parent finds out that their child doesn't have the best teacher, the parental interference begins and does not stop until the parent gets what they want. I imagine it leads to chaos.

But it isn't fair to the kids when they don't know ahead of time. I saw so many tears on the first day as children learned their best friends would not be in their classes. It is too much change and newness all at once to find that out only on the first day of school. At least finding out a few days in advance can allow the children to be better prepared to absorb everything else that is inevitably new that day.