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.