School Starts

Erin and Brent

Erin and Brent

I meant to post this picture last time I wrote.  It went into some black hole in my computer and I couldn’t find it.  I took it with Erin’s camera (she set it up…I’m not that good) one evening when it had rained all day (not normal for Florida) and we didn’t get to the beach until after supper.  Still missing those Texans.

Lana and Calli start school tomorrow.  I hope they love it. I hope their teachers love them.  I hope they find friends to sit with at lunch and play with at recess.  I hope they don’t get blisters from new sneakers.  I hope they aren’t overwhelmed by all the new routines, new rules, new expectations, new demands.  I hope their teachers are skilled and kind.  I hope they work hard and are kind.  I hope Declan doesn’t miss them too much (he doesn’t start until after Labor Day) Most of all, I hope they come home happy and excited about going back for the second day of school.

So many of you are teachers and I know you know how hard that first week is…when you want to establish some kind of order, start building a community of learners, make sure everyone is comfortable (but not too comfortable).  Kindergarten is the hardest…trying to let them know you’re in charge without scaring them silly, beginning to teach them that they are going to need to take turns and share and you can’t hit someone just because she annoys you.

I don’t envy the teachers or the kids.  Just the leap from slow-moving summer days to the insane pace of school, homework, after school activities, trying to catch your breath–it is so hard. Better you than I, my friends.  Best advice I can give (like anyone asked) is to first take care of yourselves (whether you’re a teacher or a student)  Make sure you rest, make sure you laugh, make sure you carve out time each day to do something for YOU…a walk in the evening, a good book or TV show, some kind of exercise…whatever it takes.  Then, take care of each other.  Be kind to your friends (and those you don’t know so well) Everyone is feeling a bit stressed…kids and teachers.  Smile, be friendly, ask how it’s going.  And finally, for teachers, after you’ve taken care of yourself and the teacher down the hall, you can begin to take care of those  kids who will be yours for the year.  My sister, Paula, told me once that the teachers who made the most impact on her were the ones who saw something amazing in HER and told her…not the ones who taught her amazing things about the world around her.  So go find something amazing in each one of those kids (some will be easier than others, right?)  and tell them.

I’m almost finished reading All the Light We Cannot See.  I think it might be the best book I’ve read this year.  I just love it.

Feeling good…extra long days on turtle patrol these days and I’m not coming home totally exhausted (just partly exhausted)  All’s well.




11 thoughts on “School Starts

  1. Love the post, Mary. So typical of you . . . understanding what the first day of school means for students and teachers (and parents, too). I could substitute our daughter’s name for Declan as her youngest goes off for his freshman year in college and her oldest son (your former student at Center!) enters his senior year in college. Take care of yourself, too, you are the best. Love, Barb G.

  2. Great’s been so many years since I’ve seen Brent – they are a lovely couple.
    Thanks for the pep talk! With my new job this year, I start the year with more trepidation than usual. It will be odd not to have any of my “own” kids. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I will take your advice to heart – dear friend and think of you on the beach —– and smile 🙂

  3. Eight grandkids scrambling about the house along with six adults has made it difficult to respond with any fortitude and thought. The Israeli’s stayed an extra week and left on August 6th. We put the house back in order, or almost. The windows are scrubbed of all the adorable fingerprints; the house has been washed where chalk drawings were created and the furniture has been returned to normal position for two to eat rather than 22+. We loved having them for seven weeks. The squeals of the young ones and the laughter of the big ones was a delight. Somehow our old small house with one and a half baths and three bedrooms managed to hold, entertain and satisfy all that were here and there were lots. Saturdays, because Ilyse’s family does not drive on the Sabbath, we were always here with food-a-plenty for the family and friends that always showed from near and far. Once folks find out that Ilyse is in town, plans change, and they come from Calif, Boston, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Maine, etc., etc. Quite a whirlwind but great fun.

    We did manage to get away for a week with just the immediate family. We took all fourteen of us to Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont where we had a ball. They had something for everyone of every age. The littler ones LOVED the children’s hot tub, the bigger ones loved the zip-lining and other activities available to them. It was a week from heaven and we loved it. The accommodations were made for us and everyone was comfortable and happy. Couldn’t have asked for more. The weather was perfect, the hiking at all levels, the activities satisfying. Couldn’t ask for more.

    Ilyse and the family are now back and in the midst of the activities that are happening in Israel. We are grateful that they have only had to go into their safe room about four times since they are home…but if you ask me, it’s four times too many. Just the thought makes me crazy. The ventured out to a park about three or four houses from their home when a siren went off and they had to find shelter. They ran to a neighbor. It really is awful. My middle granddaughter has taken to sleeping in the safe room where she feels safer. We wish that this will end soon.

    You seem to be almost back to the you. Great. I’ve been walking a few miles a day. I found a program that records my distance and time which I enjoy using. I drop my phone in my pocket and it records everything I need and best of all; it’s free. It’s called Map My Walk.

    I laugh when you talk about school. I was in a store the other day and someone who knew I was a teacher asked when school is starting, “I have no idea,” I replied with a HUGE SMILE…and that’s the truth. I know when my grandkids start. I guess that’s what’s important to me. The my two older Israeli granddaughter start on 8/28, no school Fridays and they go back on Sunday. Ilyse and the others start on 8/31. The kids that live here in North Reading start a week after Labor Day because they are building a new school and want to make sure it is ready. We’re taking those three tomorrow for the week while my son-in-law takes my daughter away for her birthday. Life is good

  4. You certainly do sound like a well seasoned teacher….bet you were an awesome one at that!
    Missed you all at turtle patrol on Sat., but I’ll see you on Tuesday!

  5. Deirdre Christman

    Funny, I was on the beach late this afternoon and thinking about the start of school. In the past I would have been really excited about starting, but sad that summer was over – in terms of weather. If I could have started school and had fall weather during the week, and summer weather on the weekend, I would have been ecstatic. I remember it was so hot one year on the first day that some kids’ sweat actually dripped onto their papers! I guess all of us former teachers still have our clock set by the school year, though no longer by the school day, at least not for me any more.

    Lovely picture of Erin and Brent. If Will and Cole saw Brent’s tee shirt, they’d be green with envy. They’re dying to start school, but they don’t go until after Labor Day. We’ll have them overnight this week. I took Charlotte school shopping Friday. First time ever with a girl, but I sure hope it won’t be the last! We ended the day with ice cream. What could be better?!

    Well the real good news is how much stronger you’re getting every day. So glad you’re less exhausted after turtle patrol. The fact that you always keep plugging, away even when you’re tired, makes me smile – and push myself a little harder too.

  6. You must have been a sensitive teacher !

  7. Hi Mary-So happy you are getting your energy back, and can do turtle patrol once again! Hey, I am reading that book too, it is wonderful, and in some ways, reminds me of my favorite book, “The Book Thief”.

  8. Today was the first day of school in Holyoke. Mia (4 years old) went to drop her 2 brothers at school then her mother dropped her off here. She doesn’t start at Metcalf until next week. She came in all excited and very serious.
    “Grammy, grammy, I have one more year of preschool then I go to Jackie’s school at 2nd grade then I am going to college.” Pure joy!!

  9. I have some promising articals for you when you visit. There is hope. And the camp that you provided has a promising future. The more we expose our kids, the more they can aspire to be…..

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