Back to School

animated_book02Each year it seems the first day of school is earlier and earlier. I can’t believe today marks a week since school started!

The first day of school I had yard duty at the student drop off. Very few cars came. Most parents walked their child to school. I greeted everyone with a smile and a, “Welcome back!” Students and parents all smiled. Everything is perfect on the first day of school–no issues darken anyone’s anticipation. Students all have shiny new backpacks and new clothes. Many carry department store bags with school supplies in them. (As an upper grade teacher, let me get on my soapbox here a moment and plead with parents to please unpack those supplies at home. I don’t have time to put paper in binders, unwrap pencils, etc.) Parents on the first day walk their children up onto the playground. They visit with other parents as their children find their new class lines and greet friends.

When school starts and the parents leave, the teachers push play and go. They introduce themselves. They talk about the policies and rules and curriculum. They lead getting-to-know-you games and art projects. And they go home tired.

My father was an elementary school teacher. On the first day of school, he made root beer floats when we all got home, and we took turns telling Mom about our first day. In my family, we have milkshakes on the first and last day. My sons are long out of school, but they still want milkshakes on my first day of school.

So the first couple of days are blissful in the classroom. Students are perfect. Teachers are patient. Then the teacher starts to ask the students to do something….like Math. And then begins the opportunity to fail. Every year I plead with the students to make sure they get their work done so they don’t get behind. Every year, some of them only last the first week. So as I sit here this morning with the first two assignments I’ve collected, I hope they are all here. Deep down, I suspect they won’t be and I will know right away which one of my students is That Student, the one who forgets to turn in work, then gets behind and frustrated, then misses so much they no longer know what’s going on. Once again I vow I will not let that student fall behind.

Welcome back to school!

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