Thursday, September 1, 2011

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance"

"Back to school", those three little words every mother longs to hear in August.

Back to School Card

And mothers across the country give a big sigh of relief.  Or maybe that's just me.  I remember those chilly dew laden mornings of September when I had to wait for the bus to come and take me off to the first day of a new school year.  The squeaky clean school suddenly coming back to life after a rejuvenating summer.  New pencils, new crayons, new notebooks, and the fresh smell of minds ready to learn something new. 

Okay, maybe that is just an idyllic version of my childhood.  The reality was a bit more of pressing the snooze button until you barely had time to dress and eat breakfast before running out the door to catch the bus.  The dread of homework.  Beautiful fall days with your body inside the classroom while your mind wandered around outside.  Day after day of peanut butter or pressed meat sandwiches, with a slightly bruised apple for dessert.  Falling asleep on the bus on the way home from school.  Having to go to bed early so that you could get up early again the next morning and start the cycle yet once more. 

I didn't love school, I didn't hate school.  I was good at some things and bad at others. (Can you say physical education?  I can't even say it without spraining something.)  I had friends, and people I didn't particularly care for.  I was always much happier reading something from the library than anything I was supposed to be reading for school.  Hunh, imagine that.  In high school, I could walk the halls from one class to another while reading.  This sometimes included a set of stairs.  Yep, I think I ended up exactly where I should be.

Everyone has their own memories of school starting.  Good or bad, we've all got them.  I'm glad my kids are so excited to start school.  I don't remember having that same excitement after kindergarten when getting to ride the bus was such a huge event.  I wish all kids could be as excited about school as my kids are.  But, I know many of them aren't.  For many, it's more than just missing out on those sunny September days.  You hear more and more about toxic schools, bullying, lack of funding, teaching to the tests, and mounting pressure to excel: it's a wonder kids can think of school as a happy place with all the bad press out there.   Of course, kids feed off of their parents worries and fears.  Maybe that's why my kids are so excited.  I don't have any worries or fears when it comes to sending them off to school.  I don't expect them to have insurmountable problems, and they don't.  Little problems, yes.  Insurmountable, no.  But we've got time yet, I've got kids in school for the next 14 years. 

So; next Tuesday morning, I'll head out to the bus stop for the first and last time of the school year.  Cup of coffee in one hand, camera in the other.  As the bus pulls away I'll skip back to the house with a big smile on my face and a "Hip, Hip, Hooray, School Begins Today!"

School Buses

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ~Lily Tomlin as "Edith Ann"

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