Chuck Brooks' column: Ready for another year
Well, it's not official on the calendar, but it's official in the minds of most of us. Summer is over. Gone. Toodles. Farewell. Bye-bye. See ya in nine months.
When I was a kid, I didn't love Labor Day, but I didn't dislike it either. I was a big fan of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies. My allegiance to Jerry Lewis was a tad blind, but I was young. His annual MD Telethon in those days was such a big event for everyone in the country. With every passing year, I watched it less and less religiously. I don't remember the last time I even peeked in on the telethon to see how much money they'd raised. Now they no longer even have Jerry Lewis connected to it.
It's changing now for all of us again. The teachers have put in their four days of workshop time, sitting through meeting after meeting; we prepped our rooms as quickly as possible for last Tuesday night's open house, submitted materials to be copied for that first day of instruction, and made plans for units that go far beyond day one of class. Bulletin boards are also up. Books have been retrieved from their summer home in the bookroom and are once again at the front of the room, waiting for eager teenagers to receive them. Ok. In some cases, maybe not so eager.
On any of these four days that follow Thursday's end to the workshop week, you are apt to find teachers in their rooms, continuing to work with no disturbance from more meetings or other distractions. I went to school the week before workshop because I've done this enough times to know that work time is precious. As long as I had the time prior to the week, I knew I'd be in a better place if I could get a few tasks done prior to my contract obligations beginning again.
This weekend, now that we're on the verge of students returning, I will be preoccupied with thoughts of how I want to once again start my classes on Day One. I seriously go to bed at night and with head on pillow, I think about how I want to come off Day One and what's my best strategy to come off well to the kids but also to come off as the person who is in charge in the classroom. I've always believed kids have to enjoy coming to the classroom if they stand any chance of learning. If they shut down before they even step foot in the door, I can do little to nothing for them.
So my thoughts now are all about school. Every year in June, it takes about two weeks to get out of school mode and learn how to relax once again. Every Labor Day weekend, it's all I can do to leave the school mentally to maybe enjoy lunch or dinner or a movie or good conversation. I think most of us truly sleep, eat and breathe teaching once again.
I'd be lying to you to tell you I'm not excited to return to the classroom. Thank God I am. I'm not excited to grade papers every night. I'm not excited to hear the alarm clock once again wake me at 4:30 in the morning. I'm not excited to see a voice mail on my email list as it more than likely means a disgruntled parent.
I am, however, excited to see the kids again. I'm excited to be fueled by their youth and energy again. I'm excited to have the chance to maybe make a difference with at least one of them. I'm excited to try and help them have fond memories in 20 years. I'm excited to watch them grow as humans and learners.
For the next nine months, I'm also excited to be a kid again. Bring it on!