My Real Life

August 21, 2015


When I was a kid, we didn’t find out who our teachers were until the first day of school.

We would get to school, assemble in the gym, organized by buses, and the lists would be posted on the wall. They’d read off the names of the teacher and you’d listen eagerly for your name to be called, and hope beyond hope that it was called off under the name of the teacher that you had been wishing for all summer long.

You’d go to school that first day with a backpack that had a pack of pencils, a notebook (denim Trapper Keeper, if you were awesome, like me), and your lunchbox.

Your teacher didn’t know you before you got there, and it would take him or her a week or two before they knew everyone’s name.

You’d get to class, and the teacher would go over the class rules, which usually consisted of “Keep your hands to yourself” and “Try your best” and you’d hit the ground running.

Your homework, the first night, would be a sheet of math problems and some spelling words, and you’d run home to do it as fast as you could, so you could head outside and ride your bike or climb some trees, trying to grab hold of those last, fleeting moments of summer, as the cool breezes of fall were already sneaking in.

Your parents would have homework, as well. One, rectangular emergency card that asked for your address, phone number, and the name of one other person, in case of emergency.

You’d fall asleep that night, exhausted, but happy, and ready to go the next day.


My kids start school in a few weeks, and already, the beginning to their year is different than mine ever was.

The schedules for the middle school were mailed this week, and the high school and elementary schedules will come next week.

What follows their arrival in the house is a flurry of photo taking and schedule sharing via text, Instagram,  and SnapChat (no SnapChat in my house, but I guarantee it’s everywhere else).

By the time school actually starts, they will know the name of almost every child in their classes.

As soon as they get their schedules, I’ll go to the school website and download the supply lists.

And they will be endless.

We’ll go to Walmart or Target or Staples and spend my first paycheck of the year on school supplies, because a pack of pencils and a notebook aren’t gonna cut it anymore.

On the first day of school, they’ll head in with a backpack loaded with supplies, their lunchbox, the BoxTops for Education we’ve saved over the past few months, and 50,000 papers that I filled out over the summer.

In that packet, there was the emergency card, the Home and School directory papers, the school lunch forms, the insurance forms, the user agreements for the school internet, the harassment, intimidation and bullying forms, the donation forms, and a variety of other papers, specific to their school.

They’ll go right to their classroom, and the teacher will already know them, because in that mountain of papers I filled out, was a “Getting to Know Your Child” form where I told the teacher what kind of student my child was, how he or she learned best, how he got along with others, what his or her hobbies were, and what I would like to see my child accomplish over the year.

Their first days will be spent going over the packets of classroom rules, grading policies, dress codes, school handbooks, and having assemblies to discuss the rules of the school.

And then their homework will be assigned.

When my kids get home, they’ll likely sit at the kitchen table working on their first day of school homework and assigned reading until it gets dark out, and then it will be too late to go outside and play, so they’ll veg in front of the television or hop on an electronic device until it’s time for bed.

That won’t be the end for me, though, because I, too, will have homework.

More papers from the teachers and the school that I need to fill out in order to ensure that my kids get everything they need to be successful this year.


Times have changed.

Some things for the better.

Some for the worse.

But what will never change is that night before the first day, where everyone goes to bed, fresh and showered, new school haircuts resting on their pillows, tossing and turning, brimming with excitement for that first day and the promise of a new year.

A new year full of possibility and fresh starts.

For all of us.

Photo on 8-20-15 at 9.09 AM


June 20, 2013

Last Days of School – A Teacher’s Perspective

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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As I write this, there are two days left of school.

For me, there won’t be any History instruction in these last two days as Thursday will be spent in graduation rehearsal all day (which is an instruction unto itself) and Friday is the 8th grade yearbook signing party.

But what there will be is a lot of goodbye.

There seems to be an assumption that teachers can’t kick the kids out the door fast enough when the end of June rolls around.

There seems to be an assumption that we wait all year for that last day of school to say “Goodbye, See Ya, Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out,” so we can hit the beach.

If people only knew.

The last days of school are an exercise in letting go, saying goodbye, and watching a piece of you walk out of a door.

In my case, 126 pieces of me.

Which is not to say we aren’t ready for them to go.

We are.  Not because we want to be rid of them, but because we know they are ready to move on and that it is time.

They are not the same people they were when they walked into our rooms in the fall.

They are bigger, stronger, smarter, faster, braver, better than they were.

They are more than ready to meet the next challenge ahead of them.

But they’ll do it without us.

It’s true…we are already thinking about next year’s kids and getting excited about new learning, new plans, new relationships.

But we’re sad at being left and we miss them.

Every single year.

And maybe…just maybe…that’s why I have such a hard time with my own children growing up.

Because I am being outgrown and left every single year.

It is a heartbreak unique to teachers.

The students enter in the fall and you know, already, that they will leave you in the summer.

And you still can’t help but fall in love with them over and over and over again.

I cleaned out my classroom after school today.

Started putting things away, recycling papers, taking down posters.

I was left with this:



An empty room.

A sad room.

Because a classroom without students is a sad place to be.

My 8th graders graduate next Tuesday night and I will stand behind that podium and call their names and watch them take their diplomas and walk out of my life.

I just hope that somewhere, deep inside, they will always carry a piece of me with them, because I will always carry a piece of them with me.

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