Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to School

It's that time of year again: the time when I start writing "to do" lists.  This fact took me by surprise in the last week, which is most likely why I have at minimum four separate lists going at the moment.  Legal paper, scrap of white paper, Word doc version, and I just recently stumbled upon the Gmail task list.  Do we like that one?  No decision yet.  Either way, I need to consolidate the lists.  I will put "consolidate lists" on a list, so that when I do it I can cross it off.  That's pathetic, right?  But it makes me happy.  And honestly, I might forget to do it otherwise.

The reason for the sudden uprising of lists?  Ah yes, back to school!  Setting up my classroom for the year I remembered that I ran out of tape sometime around last April.  No surplus hanging about the school, so I have two or three nice tape dispensers without the actual tape to go in them.  I do have about eight rolls of masking tape, though, and it turns out that the children aren't so discriminating in that category.  Anyway, at the start of a new year one has a moment to herself to think, "Regular clear tape would be nice to have...maybe I should track some down."  Unlikely.  I also no longer have white board erasers, and found out yesterday that old t-shirts simply don't work as well as the real deal.  (Although they work fabulously on blackboards--chalk being much more similar to dust, thus easily removed by cloth.)

Properly well-stocked or not, the children descended upon us once again yesterday.  I witnessed one reunion between friends in the subway station before I even got to school.  The kids--7th graders, I think--shrieked and then danced around one another like exotic birds in a spastic mating dance, oblivious to any and all commuters attempting to make their way past the pair.

Then at school, similar scenes played themselves out hundreds of times throughout the day as all 500 of our kids reunited.  Teachers were also involved.

During my final meeting with my advisory from last year, we all shared the best and worst parts of our summer.  Worst: one girl's mother died unexpectedly in August.  I'm worried about her and her brother, but encouraged by the fact that, shy and private as she can be, she was willing to share this news with the whole class.  Best: I'll give it to you as I experienced it.

Student: "I went to camp this summer and lost something very important."

Us: Surprised looks and raised eyebrows.

Student: "Yes, I lost it, and it made me more of a man."

Us: Outburst of laughter and hysteria.

Student: "My Pokemon."

Us: More continued hysteria.

And off to 10th grade they go.  I have a new batch of baby 9th graders now and I'm excited to learn what makes them tick.

So it begins again.  My 7th year as a teacher.  My 25th year starting a new school year.  My mom even sent me a back-to-school shirt in the mail.  Some things never change.  And that makes me happy.