Back to School Days

#67 back to school


It’s been five and a half years since I walked off my school campus for the last time. And it’s been almost as long since my stomach stopped the yearly churning of anticipation that comes about this time each year. I have to admit – I miss teaching.

Teaching is an honorable profession. It’s also a hard profession. There’s never enough time in the day to get it all done. And never enough money in the budget to accomplish the lofty goals set.

I still find myself thinking the calendar year starts in September and ends when summer begins to fade.

No matter what day school actually starts – whether mid August or September, it’s a special day. A day of new beginnings – a day of fresh starts. I don’t know another profession that gets to reset all over again every nine and a half months.

I love the first day of school. You can almost smell the fragrance of newness children wear – new shoes, new backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils along with new hopes and high expectations.

Classrooms also feel new. Lucky teachers get a fresh coat of paint on old cabinets and are welcomed in by the tangy smell of steamed-cleaned carpets. Bright new name tags garnish children’s cubbies and blank bulletin boards wait to welcome works of art.

It’s a time of fresh starts, new beginnings and all the stuff real life is made of.

School is a place of learning for everyone involved. But so much more than facts are learned there. School is our first exposure to belonging to a community outside our natural family. Each year teachers are faced with the task of bringing cohesion to a group of unrelated little beings for the express purpose of ending stronger, smarter and healthier than when they began.

I miss the first day of school and all the excitement that comes with it – but most of all I miss the community and the challenge of teaching.

Teachers are blessed to link with the mystery of life. It’s a high calling and a sacred trust.

The smell of new soon fades to the expected odors of sweaty bodies and lunch sacks with day-old bananas. Many tears will be spilled, feelings hurt and mended, more than a few skinned knees attended to. New concepts will be taught – some caught, some to be grasped later. Meetings will be held and scared little bodies too.

And in the end – there’s an indescribable satisfaction that can’t be compared.

My hat is tipped to the brave souls entering the wonderful world of school life this month. Know that your classroom will be fuller than you thought – not because of the state budget, but because our Heavenly Father promises to send angels with his kids. When you serve your children, you serve God. When you link into the community called school – you touch the mystery of life.



19 replies on “Back to School Days”

  1. You described the feelings I have on this topic so beautifully. Teaching is a very big reason I get motivated to get up in the morning and have the opportunity to watch God work. I am addicted!

    1. And you, Donna Hardwick, have been doing it so very well for a very, very long time. Heaven must smile a lot watching over you and your school. May God bless your socks off this coming year – you’re such a consistent warrior for the cause of children and their families.

      Yep, you’re the best kind of addict – addicted to God’s involvement in our lives!

  2. Your post brought back so many memories! Some of me teaching preschool and some of my own children going to school! You so aptly pictured just how it is for teacher and student alike. Every time school starts in the fall I have that expectancy too! So thankful the Lord is present with our classrooms, teachers, and children when we invite Him to be in our midst with us as we go through the day. Great post once again Pat, thanks for putting it all together in a picture for me!

    1. School life certainly occupies a significant number of days over our lifetime – it’s no wonder there are so many memories threaded through the time spent there. Thanks for revisiting memories with me today, Jeannie.

  3. Thanks for that Pat! New year here I come. I miss you Pat at our school. You were a beautiful blessing in my life all those years!

    1. And you have been a beautiful blessing to all those sweet little lives for a long time now. Enjoy the remaining days of summer, Heather. I love watching your compassionate care for children – and I love you.

  4. The anxious stomach churning started in our home about two weeks ago. It’s a transitional year for two of my three children who will be attending brand new schools this year. I’m still working on accumulating the “new” items I hope will bring security and comfort to their restlessness, but I know the angels assigned to them will be going with them and so will the Holy Spirit. Back to school days can be bittersweet…

    1. Oh-oh, sounds like your mornings could be a little hectic this next school year, Michelle. Hopefully things will settle into a good rhythm quickly, removing the bitter from the sweet. Blessings to you!

  5. Yes, thanks Pat for reminding me of the great excitement and anticipation about that first day back. My mind goes back to the shy, nervous little people who sometimes arrived in my classroom on that first day, for them, that entry into community was difficult and sometimes frightening. Praise The Lord for teachers who are ready with love and comfort to ease those early days!!
    No opportunity now to watch all the young children arriving in their new uniform, however, I proudly watch my grandson as he puts on his new uniform for the very first time and holding hands with his ‘big’ sister, prepares for this next big life adventure!!

    1. I always enjoyed the challenge of bonding with and attending to the “shy, nervous little people” as well as creating trust with their equally apprehensive parents. By the end of the year, confidence soared and part of my heart had been given away once again. There’s nothing like it! Congratulations to your grandson on his new big life adventure. Thanks so much for sharing, Ruth. xoxo

  6. Hi Pat! What a beautiful tribute to the life and times of a teacher. I didn’t realize that you are susceptible to the smell of new crayons too! I remember the excitement of all the new school supplies. Yes, it fades about mid-October, but then the joy of the teacher really lights the fires of the children. Teachers are so important, and it sure sounds like you were one of the ‘good ones’.

    1. I knew I had more than just a kindred spirit with Walk By The Spirit, Ceil. Yes, I’m still intoxicated by the smells of a new box of crayons, playdough, fresh poster paint and smudgy faces. I miss the time they were daily aromas for me. I traded my crayola markers for a ppt laser awhile ago. Now it’s my joy to consult and encourage early educators – however I still can’t visit a school without breathing deeply and lending a lap.

      Glad to know you understand, Ceil. Blessings to you!

  7. Even though I’m not a mom yet, I love seeing all the posted pictures of the first day of school on fb and twitter. The excitement and anticipation you spoke of is evident on the faces of children and their parents. It’s almost more exuberant than vacation photos and maybe because they do touch the mystery of life you mentioned… the mystery of learning, growing and community.

    Really sweet post Pat. Thank you.

    1. I love the back to school pictures posted on social media. I’m envious actually, of the innocent joyful anticipation on their faces. How wonderful it would be to approach all new ventures in our life with the same enthusiasm.

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation Tammi, you made my day.

  8. Beautiful! Teachers have such a special calling. Praying for many blessings for each of them in this new school year – what a tough, yet so important, job they have!

    1. I agree, Kathryn. Teaching is a calling not everyone can do. Those who do it well have an eternal reward waiting for them. Serving little ones is highly regarded by God.

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