This week most school districts in my area began the new school year—and this time of year always makes me reflective about the first day of school and what it can mean for the kids I see waiting at the bus stop.
When I was a kid, I usually loved school. I anticipated the first day of school as a time to wear a brand new outfit, find out who would be in my class, figure out which teachers were nice and which might be mean, and finally start using the new school supplies that I’d been hoarding.
In college, I loved that first week on campus- reconnecting with friends in person (this was before cell phones, texting, and even email—we actually WROTE LETTERS to keep in touch over the summer!), buying fresh textbooks, checking out the new guys in the dorm, and settling back into the freedom of college life.
When I began teaching, I always looked forward to the first day of school with the students—because, of course, teachers actually have two “first days”—the first day of faculty meetings, and then the first day when the kids come back. I was always so excited to meet my new students, to start figuring out what the personality of each class would be, diving into the curriculum—and yes, to once again finally start using the new school supplies that I’d been hoarding!
Now, even though I’m no longer working in the school system, I still think about the first day of school when I see the kids on these first days at the bus stop—brand new backpacks on their shoulders, fresh sneakers on their feet, and a totally empty slate. That first day of school is packed with possibilities. Will this be the year with the teacher who creates that spark? Will this be the year when it finally clicks? Will this be the year that sets the tone of success for THAT KID?
I love looking at the kids I see waiting at the bus stops on these first days, and I wonder what the new school year will bring to each of them.