Back to School

26 Jul

It’s almost back to school time here in my little piece of the midwest. It’s a time simultaneously dreaded and celebrated by teachers, students, and parents. The end of July marks the start of back-to-school sales, the last days of summer vacation, and the final hours of personal freedom. Although I’ve been retired for three short years now, my teacher’s soul still aches for the beginning of a new school year.

For me, July is a time when I really start to value the gift that is summer vacation. The minutes of extra sleep in the morning, the carefree hours of dilly-dally, the days and weeks of unfettered sojourn. One of the most precious gifts of summer vacation has always been the endless supply of library books and hours upon hours of relaxed reading enjoyment. I never understood people who didn’t love reading. As an educator, I studied this alien phenomena. Why did so many children hate reading? Why did they avoid reading? Why did they find it so laborious?  Kids are not born hating reading. As a matter of fact, I’ve never met a kid who didn’t enjoy sitting on someone’s lap and listening to a story. Even as they got older, toddlers and preschoolers still enjoy hearing a story from the criss-cross position on the floor, so it’s not just the human touch of the lap which makes reading enjoyable. Actually most kids don’t start disliking reading until school-age. Which begs the reason so many kids dread the beginning of another school year. Do they equate school with achievement in reading, writing, math, or failure, embarrassment, and boredom? I made reading success my mission. What could I do to foster a love of reading in every child I met? How could I make reading an enjoyable activity? How could I turn reluctant readers into successful readers?

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So, contrary to popular beliefs, I and countless other teachers across America spent July and August preparing for the next school year. Before the first #2 pencils hit the sales rack, I attended classes and workshops dedicated to helping me be a better teacher. Prior to the last days of vacation, I spent days researching new titles and finding just the right books for my students. In lieu of the last hours of personal freedom, I scoured thrift shops and discount stores for things to make our reading time special. Because for me, nothing was more important than helping students find their own joy and self-worth in a book. And although I won’t be joining you in another adventure this school year, I will always value and respect the passion and dedication of teachers everywhere.

Tradition holds the back to school time as a season in and of itself. The end of July marks the beginning of a clean slate for a new year, the hopefulness of new or renewed friendships, the promise of fresh ideas and discoveries, and the anticipation of a precious gift. Wishing all my young and young-at-heart friends the gift of a wonderful school year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “Back to School”

  1. trinitygrau July 31, 2016 at 8:32 PM #

    I’ve been schooling for weeks (we don’t take a traditional summer break). Every morning we’ve been reading some great books. Between my volunteering at the local library and school, it looks like a great year for some reading time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Juliana Lee August 1, 2016 at 11:03 PM #

      I’ve always liked the idea of year around schooling. It seems like a good way to reinforce learning without the traditional summer slide. So happy you have time to read some great books!

      Liked by 1 person

      • trinitygrau August 5, 2016 at 11:33 PM #

        Yes, yes it is! I’ve been having fun reading and learning some great stuff. What’ve you been reading?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Juliana Lee August 7, 2016 at 9:39 PM #

          My tastes vary. I read dozens of picture books every week and I read for pleasure. I belong to two book clubs and I read manuscripts. It’s what I do.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. ritaborg July 27, 2016 at 2:31 AM #

    Hi JUliana. Beautiful post. I miss the new school year as a child growing up in New York City.We started school around September 6th. It was my favorite time of the year. Everything is new, everything is a potential. Then, of course, there was Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why does everything have to change? sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Juliana Lee July 27, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

      Thank you, Rita. I love the back-to-school season. I have a deeper connection to the new school year than the traditional Jan 1st new year. Maybe it’s because I appreciate an early bedtime! Haahahahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

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