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.
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?
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.
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!
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)
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.