For over 50 years of my life, that phrase had relevance at the tail end of our summer. Oh how those words elicit an avalanche of wonderful memories…as a student, as a mother of students, and as a teacher. Each of those roles involved a flurry of activity this time of year. Oh how I loved the new beginnings…the clean slate….the do over. Chances to be better were clearly on the horizon of possibility of going back to school. I think I would revel in a job that just prepared others to go back. Any takers???
I loved the shopping for back to school clothes. As a kid, I had mostly outgrown the ones from the year before. As a mom, the boys grew like weeds and there was no other option but to shop. Each year, it was a delightful endeavor to see how our tastes changed to create our own discriminating style for the new year. Would we be sporty or cool? As a teacher, I needed more of those cute little teacher jumpers with apples and ABC’s. I secretly aspired to be Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. Those jumpers would cause the young teachers of today to shudder and laugh. If they only knew what they were missing. Seriously….if they only knew.
It was imperative to find just the right backpack, lunch box, and shoes. Oh my! This could make or break the entire year for all of us. And then of course there were the specific notebooks and folders. Mine were always color driven and color coded. My boys gravitated toward their passion of the moment…dinosaurs, sea animals, Star Wars, or Sports. Then those all important decisions of glue stick or Elmer’s original? Oh the choices!!! Then, let’s not forget those fabulous new crayons in their splendor of pointy caps….64 or 96? These were critical pieces to get our year off the launch pad. Probably a tad of OCD reared its ugly head in my routine. I found this to be true a generation later with my own children. Oops, must have passed that gene along. Sorry guys!
I would obsess over the perfect room arrangement of my classroom. It would have to be a kaleidoscope of primary colors with matching containers and labeled…well….everything. I would go up days before I had to report for duty to start the process that would evolve along with my creative indecision. I would lie awake at night trying to think of projects that would cause my students’ minds to leave the boundaries of our little room and soar off into other imagi-Nations.
I am so thankful that my sons and I each had a dot in the temporal space that we occupied as students. I am equally glad that I had the privilege to teach when I did. It was the best of times. I think it is different now. I think we had it better. Going back to school will always be a lovely journey in my memory. I must confess, though, that I am a bit jealous of those for whom it is a current reality. So embrace the frenzy and seize the possibilities. For before you know it, it will be but a memory for you too. Carpe diem!
Back to School Wisdom: You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! ~ Dr. Seuss