I stopped in at school today. Not to do any work, mind you. I just needed a security code so I can go into the building on weekends, without setting off a series of alarms. I chatted with my friends in the office. I breathed in the smell of the hall (it never really goes away). And when I left, I had an extra bounce.
Teachers might try to look sad about the end of summer. They might moan about "getting back into the groove" or say things like "I guess all good things must come to an end." But in reality, most of us are like little kids. We love school. And not just for the fun new school supplies, either!
I get twitchy this time of year. I want to settle in to my desk. I like straightening out my supplies, hanging pictures on the walls, and unpacking all the clutter I seem to need. I haven't had a classroom of my own, really, for years. I keep ending up in a different room each year. So I get to box everything up, haul it down the stairs, round the corner, up the stairs, and down another hallway. Every time. But as much as I hate the packing, I love this end of it. The new room. A fresh start. Unpacking.
It takes me at least a week to prepare. I like to have the first month sketched out before school starts, and I am required to have the entire semester planned and handed in to the office by the end of September. I spend the first few days moving desks and hanging bulletin boards, and then the rest of the time planning. This year, I am doing sometime different. I am teaching Family Studies, and CAPP (Career and Personal Planning). So instead of Romeo and Juliet, we will do budgets. Rather than poetry, I will wax poetic on the subject of birth control. I am excited about the changes, but it means a lot of work for the first while.
I can't wait for the students to arrive. I like seeing the new faces, and being surprised by the changes a summer can mean to a 15 year old. I love catching up with my favourites (come on, you must have known teachers have favourites!) and finding out all the "gossip". I love the moment when I can say to a class "As of today, you have 100% in this class. It's up to you to maintain that grade." There are always a few kids who get it. The grasp the idea that I am not out to fail them, that in fact I am pulling for them to succeed with all my might, and so they think "I can do this! I just have to keep doing it!"
I realize that not all teachers love their jobs. In fact, I have days (sometimes even weeks) where I absolutely hate going to work. Lots of people show up simply to put in the time, get the pay, and enjoy the summers. But deep down, I can't imagine another life. I love the school. I love teaching. I love the students. I can't wait.