The School Year Looms, A Teacher’s Confession

Editor’s note: Most Capital Region kids are back in their respective classrooms for the new academic year. Social media was replete with “first day” photos and clusters of neatly-dressed children and anxious hovering parents were seen at bus stops across the area this morning.

Teachers, staff and administrators have been at work for days now, preparing to get everything just right for when the kids arrived.

CivMix contributor Silvia Lilly is a veteran school librarian, who admits, even after all these years, to experiencing some first-day jitters herself. Read on to get her always informative – and sometimes irreverent – take on life. – L

The last day of summer vacation always comes too soon.

Yes, I know most teachers have far more time off than other professionals. I’m not asking for sympathy here. But, despite having known the “10 months on, 2 months” off academic schedule for almost my entire professional life, returning to work remains a challenge to which I adjust every year.

Going back is hard – for students and teachers alike.

On the final day of summer vacation I am, as always, a little stressed and wishing I had some of those carefree summer hours spent at the pool or on my deck with a book back.

If that were possible, I’m certain I’d be more productive and actually accomplish all those tasks I had on my “to do” list way back in June. I would…wouldn’t I? Of course I would.

During the academic year, life is busy.

The daily demands of a full-time position can feel overwhelming, with a facility to maintain, events to plan, classes to conduct and extra curricular activities in which to participate. No two days are the same. This lends a certain flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants flavor to my work life that is invigorating yet unpredictable, even after nearly 25 years on the job.

My fellow teachers, some of whom I randomly crossed paths with in recent weeks – almost as if the universe was trying to prepare me for a new year by reminding me of how much I value our collaborations – will fill the auditorium for an opening day message. There will be books to organize, displays and bulletin boards to create and classes to schedule and plan. My groove will come back. It always does.

Work is obviously a big part of my day, but there are other things that I want and need to do – like being present for my kids, taking care of my home and maintaining relationships and my own physical, mental and emotional well being. As the easy days of summer draw to a close I can’t help but wonder: How will I manage it all?

I find myself doing the same things I’ve done in years past. I clean my house, shop for groceries, do the laundry and cook something that qualifies as comfort food. Bills get paid, notes to friends get written and addressed and I try to take care of any and all tasks that might be a distraction during the first days of a fresh, new year.

Because I want to make this the best school year ever.

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