I did it. You did it. We did it.
Well, sort of … truly we’re just getting started, but man what a major sigh of relief I can now breathe.
Please forgive my vagueness as I am a bit giddy after getting through the first week of school. A hunch tells me some of you knew what those first three sentences meant straight off the bat. A fair share of you I know are now awaiting the ‘big’ send-off …college, or you may still be recovering from the whole experience.
This year I escorted a kindergartner and a second grader onto their elementary school campus. It was tough, however surprisingly a slight bit easier than when I first took my oldest.
The great thing about being embedded in a community or a school is the support network you develop. This year my daughter joins her kindergarten class with many of the younger siblings of her older brother’s classmates.
Many of us ‘mommies’ spoke prior to the first day and even said a silent prayer for the two teachers who will now be blessed with our brood of children. Admittedly, we have the utmost faith in the teachers they’ve been assigned (as well as our children), but prayer can never hurt.
The day prior to school starting we attended Kindergarten Orientation. This would be the moment where I would really come to appreciate the journey we have had to date as a family at our elementary school.
As I watched new faces (moms and dads) approach the school, I caught a few sizing up the other parents and their children. This I know, because I did this once myself. The proverbial ‘outsider’ embarking on a campus where I knew a few people, but truly had no connection. The fear of missing an important notice, not knowing the staff, frightened by the idea of keeping up with my student’s homework.
Now, two school years behind us and a healthy arsenal of support in our corner, that major sigh comes more easily.
Being the person that I am, I found myself wanting to hug those roaming eyes with arms crossed and shoulders hunched. I wanted to reassure them, it will be fine… trust me… you’ll find your place.
I’ve come to learn that returning to the campus as a parent is not dissimilar to what our children experience their first few days. The excitement to see faces we’ve missed through summer. The reconnect of catching up with those we stayed in touch with through summer. And yes, even the hallway discussion of the teachers we will now interact with on a regular basis.
The teachers; how can you address the ‘Back to School’ topic without giving kudos to the teachers?
I’ve shared in past pieces my affinity and undeniable respect for teachers. It’s a job, which few are brave enough to do.
Fortunately we have a district full of those who are passionate about the profession they have chosen.
I know this on two accounts. Personally, I watch many of my friends spend much of their summer months ‘picking things up,’ ‘Pinning’ on Pinterest or trading tips for the coming school year.
I’m well aware that the mass majority think the teachers ‘have it made,’ and with summers off it’s an easy assumption to make. I can honestly say that those I know who are passionate are never truly ‘off.’
As for the summers off portion (which is part of the traditional school schedule) I say more power to them.
This summer I had one teacher friend ask “Are you jealous because I don’t have to work in the summer?”
I could not help but giggle as the question was posed. As I collected myself I shared with my friend that I felt teachers more than earned that summer time off. After all, I was spending two and a half months with my precious angels (who I was ready to kill).
The idea of wrangling the parenting styles of 20 other families on any given day for 175-plus days of my life was enough to make me search out a cold beverage. Plus you need to teach them something and not just a few things… a lot of things.
No thank you and God bless you.
So to the parent readers who stop here on occasion, I say ... here we go. A new school year. Please remember to support your child, support your selected campus and most importantly support your teachers.
A Hollywood actor brings you two hours of entertainment and earns an income that a teacher will not see in their entire lifetime. Yet a teacher shows up day after day. Some days their smiles are brighter than others. Some nights their feet a bit more tired, but they show up. They may privately count down to summer (just like their students), but chances are they’ve been working long before that mid-August start date.
See you around campus.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.