Bye Bye Pool, Hello School

I’ve been trying to put my finger on the source of my low-level anxiety this week, and I’ve figured it out. School’s starting back! The buses are rolling. It’s time to say good-bye to sweet summer.

school bus

It’s been six years since I started a fall semester as a teacher, fifteen since I sent a teenager to senior year of high school, ten since I packed up a young adult for the final year of college. So what’s up with my school anxiety?

Part of it is due to my DNA. You don’t spend 30 years teaching, plus all those previous years being educated to teach, without it leaving a permanent mark. For me, the new year will always begin in late August, not the beginning of January.

I see back-to-school supplies for sale, and I have to buy something myself. I feel like I need notepads to do lesson plans. Besides, what former educator can resist composition books for 25 cents apiece?

back to school supplies

Another reason for my back-to-school jitters: the grandchildren have returned to the schoolhouse this week. Like a good grandma, I empathize with their uncertainty about the new year–although they look pretty happy in this annual first day of school photo posted to social media.

back to school grandchildren

I don’t have very many first day of school pictures of my children–no Facebook to post to back in the 80’s and 90’s–but I did unearth this photo of my youngest daughter set to depart for day one of kindergarten in 1991.

Yes, that’s a much younger me, kneeling on the floor beside her. I’d need help getting up from that position now!pj kindergarten

She was one of three daughters my husband and I helped through elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. A lot of time, energy, and money went into those years. Packing lunches, carpooling, supervising homework, attending sporting events, paying tuition–the list goes on and on.

There were good years, wonderful years, and quite frankly, some mediocre ones. But we –the girls, their dad (the lunch packer), and I–persevered. Young parents, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: one day they graduate! (Youngest daughter again, seventeen years later)

pj graduation

School is wonderful–I spent a good portion of my life there–but it’s also a little scary, especially at the beginning of a new year.

school zone

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3 Responses to Bye Bye Pool, Hello School

  1. Virginia Haden says:

    Enjoyed, can relate. Can’t resist buying school supplies, maybe for garden club.


    • patsypridgen says:

      I know, I love to look at all the paper, pens, and pencils this time of the year, especially when a lot of them are on sale. Of course, I’m glad I don’t have the pressure of helping a child find a particular type of folder or some such required item designated by a list.


  2. Barbara Raynor says:

    It has been 15 years since I retired from teaching and this is the first year that I have ignored the urge to buy school supplies. These days, I just smile and go back to leisurely drinking my morning cup of tea, when I see the back to school ads on television. Of course I knew it was time to retire, when I got to school one Monday morning, running late, loaded down with lesson plan books etc and could understand why the door to my room would not unlock. It took me a minute to realize that I was pressing my automatic car key opener instead of using my room key. I can still hear the sweet young second year teacher across the hall saying, “ Mrs. Raynor, bless your heart, do you need help? “ LOL


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