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'Twas the night before...

Posted by Suzanne D. on 8/03/04 at 20:56 (156869)

I'm just a little crazy tonight as tomorrow is our first day of school! We are on an 'alternative calendar' and begin school around the first of August in order to have two week breaks in October and April, along with the other normal holiday breaks.

I've worked many days in my room this summer and attended meetings, but tomorrow the real job begins when the children walk through the door! I am always so excited/anxious that I can hardly sleep the night before. I don't think I'll ever get over that feeling ~ even though I am beginning my 25th year tomorrow.

My 'baby' also graduated from high school this past spring, so this will be the first time in 18 years that I will not have a child in public school. Well, I guess I can't accurately state that as my oldest is beginning her 2nd year teaching tomorrow! So she still is in school. :)

I'm beginning to really face the 'empty nest syndrome', though, with my daughter leaving for college on the 21st. The piles of college purchases are mounting in her room, and they are just one more reminder that she is leaving. I guess I just need to get that off my chest tonight, too!

But when I see those little toothless grins tomorrow, I will feel better. There's nothing like hard work and children looking up to you to make you feel needed.

Thanks for listening!
Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Pauline on 8/03/04 at 21:03 (156871)

Good luck, you'll do fine just as you've done every other year. I'm just sorry you have to return so early in the year. How do you like this teaching plan?

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/03/04 at 21:12 (156876)

I usually answer that question, Pauline, by smiling and saying that right now I don't particularly like the schedule, but come the first of October, I like it just fine (when we have our two week break)! :) Seriously, for first graders, I really don't care for the schedule because they just aren't quite through their summer play yet, and then when we miss in October, some are just hitting their stride, and then we have to backtrack some. But children are more resilient than adults, and they seem to adapt fairly well. As in any change, it is the weaker students, those with special needs or problems who seem to suffer.

I taught for many years before the schools around here had air conditioning, and this early starting would not have worked then. I was upstairs in an old brick building, and I remember once having a small thermometer on a pencil holder on my desk which registered 95 one day. I put it away in the drawer because it made me hotter just to look at it!

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Pauline!

I hope you are having a good week,
Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Dorothy on 8/03/04 at 23:13 (156882)

Suzanne D. -

In many ways you must have the ideal job to deal with 'empty nest syndrome' - all those little ones looking to you - your 'nest' will never be really empty. I think I understand what you're saying - it's a tough moment, isn't it, the last one moving on, even though she has a few years before that is complete - it just means so many things and probably most of all the visible reality of the passage of time. It can also be a great turning point for you - but for a while, a kind of grieving often takes place - in my experience - and then a turning to the future that is not hers only, but yours, too. Best wishes to you, Suzanne, tomorrow and beyond -

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Necee on 8/04/04 at 00:22 (156883)

All the best to you Suzanne as you begin another year.
Let us know how your first day went.


Re: 'Twas the night before...

marie on 8/04/04 at 00:27 (156884)

Hope you have a great year! I don't start for a few weeks. I'm really getting nervous though because they still havn't moved my stuff into the classroom.

Well have fun with the kids and give us a report on their toothless grins.


Re: 'Twas the night before...

Kathy in KY on 8/04/04 at 07:32 (156888)

Thank goodness for air conditioning! This will be my 21st year of teaching & I remember those first years of hot, stuffy rooms with no a.c.
We are starting a little later this year due to construction at our schools, my students arrive Aug. 23 but my inservices start on the 16th.
Where is your youngest going to college? My daughter will be a junior this year & wants to go out of state to college. I'm hoping she will stay in state & use her KEEYS money. I hope your first day at school was smooth!

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Richard, C.Ped on 8/04/04 at 08:23 (156889)

I live just down the road from a middle school. During school time, traffic is horrible. I was driving to the office this morning and realized that my peaceful commute today, will be heck tomorrow. haha

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Kathy G on 8/04/04 at 08:47 (156895)

Suzanne's students are some of the luckiest around. Most of us remember some of our teachers but all of us remember our first grade teacher. And when they are as caring and gifted as Suzanne, you know the memories her student will have will be happy ones!

I hope this year is a wonderful one, Suzanne!

As for the traffic, Richard, you have my sympathies. On the other side of the coin, yesterday evening, I went by a driveway and a kid on a bicycle was pulling out and missed hitting my car by about a foot! And I swerved way over onto the other side of the road! He never even looked! He was about twelve or thirteen, the age where their mind is anywhere but where it should be. When I looked in my rearview mirror, he was peddling like crazy so my guess was he was late for curfew.

It always makes me laugh when they put up these signs in my community that say, 'Drive with caution. School is back in session!' It's when it's out, you have to drive with caution.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

john h on 8/04/04 at 15:05 (156922)

I sure do remember my first grade teacher Ms McComb and my second grade teacher Ms McCracken and my 7th grade teacher Mr.Lovingood (He would smack you boy or girl) if you misbehaved. Of course there are others I remember but I wonder what it is that makes certain teachers standout in your memory.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:28 (156941)

You're right, Dorothy, about teaching being the ideal job for the 'empty nest syndrome' and also about the youngest leaving for college being a visible reality of the passage of time. I need to consider it a turning point. Thanks for the understanding!

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:41 (156942)

Thank you, Necee! The day went well ~ up until bus-loading time. We really do work to try to make that go smoothly: I had parents write down where their child would go at the end of the day when they came to open house last week. My part-time assistant checked bus numbers, and I double-checked and gave a copy of my list to the assistant principal. But when we got outside with the children, some buses were late, some had sub drivers, some had different numbers than they were supposed to have...Then in the middle of trying to get the children on the right buses, we had a downpour! The wind gusted, and part of the roof of a little store across the road came off. It was frightening to the children, I am sure. But I stayed at school until almost 5:00, and none of my parents called to inquire about their child, so that must mean that they arrived home safely.

I hope that the day was good for each child; that is important to me. Thanks for asking!

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:42 (156944)

Thanks, Marie. I hope you have a good year, too! Enjoy your last weeks of vacation!

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:48 (156945)

Yes, thank goodness for air conditioning, Kathy! I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation!

My daughter is going to attend a small, private college in Kentucky. Thankfully, she got a good scholarship there. Because she attended the Governor's Scholars Program last summer, her tuition there is free, and her scholarship and KEEYS money covers much of the rest of the fees. (E-mail me sometime, and I'll be glad to tell you about the college. I'm just always a little hesitant to write specifics on the internet!)

Since your daughter is a junior this year, I would encourage you to check into applications for the Governor's Scholars Program around Christmas time.

Thanks for the good wishes!
Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:49 (156946)

How many years until your daughter starts kindergarten, Richard? Is she 4 now? Enjoy these preschool years!

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:52 (156947)

Thank you for the kind words, Kathy! I do care about my students and want to not only teach them knowledge but also to teach them to care about others and to be kind, honest, and hard-working (sounds like I want to make them all Boy Scouts!). :)

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 19:53 (156948)

I've thought about that question many times, John. Just what does make a teacher memorable? From my own experiences as a student, it seemed to be the ones that I knew cared about me personally that I loved and remembered.

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Susan S on 8/04/04 at 20:14 (156950)

I spent first grade standing in the corner. My 4th grade teacher Miss Moss told us she had never missed a day of teaching in over 30 years except for when she was quarantined. In the 10th grade I had a young hippie English teacher, Rod Smith. We wrote poetry and meditated. When he got paged over the intercom he would turn on meditation music and not answer.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/04/04 at 20:30 (156952)

Susan, my first grade teacher quit in the middle of the year because she was pregnant. Of course we didn't know why, and it was of great concern to me what had happened to her. She just disappeared! At that time, teachers could no longer teach after they began to 'show'. It was all hush-hush.

In third grade my teacher was a little lady who seemed so old and frail. I didn't understand the circumstances at the time, but I wondered why we had such a small class and in such a tiny room. I found out years later that the teacher had suffered a nervous breakdown and needed one more year to retire. The principal made a room from a janitor's closet and selected 12 or so students whom she thought wouldn't cause any trouble for her that year. Everyone but me got chicken pox at the same time, and for days I was the only pupil there! Then of course I came down with it, and the rest of the class moved on, and I had to catch up when I returned!

My fourth grade teacher was my favorite. She could draw well, and on Fridays she would draw a picture with colored chalk on the board, and we could copy what she drew. I know that's not the best way to teach art, but it's the only art I had in elementary school, and I looked so forward to Fridays! I thought she was the prettiest lady I had ever seen. Years and years later, I found a picture of her in some of my things and was quite surprised that she was just an average-looking, almost plain young woman. But it just shows that because I loved her, she was pretty.

My favorite teacher in high school was my German teacher. We took the class because we loved her. We would have taken basket-weaving if that was what she had taught. She helped us with 4-H projects, and she paid for yearbooks and caps and gowns for kids who couldn't afford it or whose parents wouldn't pay for them. Everyone respected her.

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Susan S on 8/04/04 at 21:27 (156954)

I taught for 3 years just out of college. I taught in a janitor's closet, and old girls dressing room off the gym with broken out windows and little heat (I had to get there early with a space heater.), the guidance couselor's lobby, the library, a room off an auditorium also with no heat - you could blow and see your breath in the winter. And these were stringed instruments classes. I did have some nice rooms too, although none with air conditioning.

That was a sweet principal that saved that woman's pension.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Carole C in NOLA on 8/04/04 at 23:28 (156958)

John, I remember all of my teachers (except the substitutes), but my first grade teacher certainly did make a big impact on me.

My brothers told me before school started that Mrs. Durning was very strict and 'mean', and did a lot of corporal punishment like slapping hands with a ruler. In those days, that was allowed. Anyway, I was terrified when I showed up.

She was, in fact, very strict but very consistent so everyone behaved. That got us started right, and because of her strictness we learned more and probably we were punished less in later years than we otherwise might have been.

She wasn't very loving or demonstrative at all... she was no Suzanne and we got no hugs at all, but she praised each of us magnificently when we did well in reading, spelling, and so on. Despite the dearth of hugs that made me feel so loved and special, and it motivated me to pay attention and learn. :)

Carole C

Re: 'Twas the night before...

john h on 8/05/04 at 10:14 (156976)

I think I was fortunate in that all the way through 7th grade my class was only 11 children and we stayed together the entire time. I do not know how big classes are today but I doubt they are that small anymore.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Dr. Z on 8/05/04 at 20:46 (157026)

I remember all of my teachers from Kindergarden to high school. Funny College and podiatry school I have to think about. I guess I learned it all in Kindergarden

K- Mrs Gainer
1. Miss Tickle
2. Mrs Gibson
3. Mrs. Brown
4. Mrs Sherwood
5. Mr. Brown
6. Mrs Aqua
7. Mr. Hastings
and on and on

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Pauline on 8/06/04 at 08:02 (157048)

Dr. Z,
I think there is a book titled ' Everything I needed to know I learned from my cat'. So you're really ahead of the game if you can remember your elementary teachers.

They make the biggest impression on us I think, because unless we are sent off to boarding school it's our first real break from the security of our parents even if it's for only a few hours a day. You know the formative years.

Tell us more about 'Miss Tickle'

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Kathy G on 8/06/04 at 09:18 (157059)

Miss Tickle, eh Dr. Z? If this were a different type of Board, our minds would be going the same direction as Pauline's! :) I know, Pauline, you're just wondering about the ethnic origins of her name, right?

To tell you the truth, my first grade teacher was very nice but not the nicest teacher I ever had. She had recently been widowed, at a very young age, and she had a troubled year.

I remember all my teachers and professors in college. When I moved to Connecticut where I attended grades 4-9, I had outstanding teachers. I had so many good ones, it's the poor ones that stand out.

What makes a good teacher you ask, Suzanne? For me, it was a sense of humor, warmth and a willingness to let us go as far as we wanted with a subject. Our school system was very progressive so we tried all kinds of new things and it seems to me that the curriculum was such that it allowed both the brighter and the slower students to be included. And we were a small school, too, and knowing everybody gave us such a sense of belonging.

The one teacher that stands out in my mind? A third grade teacher, while I still lived in MA, who made me stay in at recess, cutting out circles, because she said I just wasn't concentrating and trying. Due to my eye condition, I still have trouble cutting things out but I didn't know why I couldn't do it, then. You'd think that since I wore glasses, back in a time when almost no child wore glasses, and had had three eye operations, she would have put two and two together. It was absolutely humiliating and I've obviously never forgotten it.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

john h on 8/06/04 at 10:22 (157068)

I really did learn a lot from my cat Pauline. When I was 6 my cat gave birth to 6 kittens on my bed one morning about 5 am. When I was living in Wyoming our cat started to deliver her kittens. My wife went into a panic and insisted we head to the vet (she had never owned a cat). She sat in the back seat as I sped down the highway yelling all the way as the kittens started to arrive. Then Mary gave out a big yell that the mother was eating the cats! Of course she was just cleaning them up. By the time we arrived at the vet they were all well and mama cat had them nice and clean. Mary was a wreck.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Dr. Z on 8/06/04 at 12:09 (157075)

What I remember about her was Miss Tickle played the piano and song to us. She left me sit next to her on the piano stool. She told me her husband name was David also. Strange how I remember this.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/06/04 at 15:54 (157087)

That's interesting that you remember the piano playing and singing, Dr. Z. There's a great deal of research about music and how it enhances learning.

I have a keyboard I play in my classroom and have collected many songs that go along with subjects we learn. The children always enjoy singing.

It's funny ~ I saw a young woman this summer who was in my class in 3rd grade. She said she recently had a dream about me. In the dream we were singing the 8's time table song. That was still in her memory from 14 years ago!

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Suzanne D. on 8/06/04 at 16:04 (157088)

You have a great description of a good teacher, Kathy. You were fortunate to have the small, unified school and to also have teachers with the foresight to allow you to reach your potential.

It's those mistakes like your third grade teacher made with you that make me take every encounter with a child so seriously. I don't ever want someone to remember me that way in 40 or 50 years!

When I was in the 9th grade, I was trying hard to think of an answer to a science test question. I guess I appeared to be looking at another girl's paper, but I was honestly just staring, thinking. The teacher yelled out at me, accused me of trying to cheat and made me move to another table. The girl who I was supposed to be looking off of told me afterwards she was really sorry. She said, 'Why would you look off my paper? Everyone knows you make A's, and I barely pass!'

That lady was my worst teacher. Later in the semester, we were having a revival at our church, and she gave us a pop-quiz. We had never had one before, and the questions were very 'picky'. I didn't do well, and neither did anyone else. But she only held up my paper and remarked, 'It looks like you need to spend more time studying and less time going to church, Suzanne!' I was humiliated. There was an older lady in my church who taught at my high school, and I suppose she must have mentioned to her about church and the fact that I was going every night. I honestly never could figure out why she had such animosity toward me. It surely was not pleasant, and that experience makes me want to treat every child as fairly as I can.

Suzanne :)

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Pauline on 8/07/04 at 12:20 (157151)

Kathy, I think you read my mind wrong and thats unfortunate especially if you thought I was going down a road of trash.

Often times teachers with the different names become our favorites for a variety of reasons and their name sticks with us because it was different.

So what ever your personal thoughts are about Miss Tickle that would need to be posted on another type of board, please don't attach them to me or my post. You haven't a clue what I was thinking.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Julie on 8/07/04 at 15:52 (157164)

Goodness, Pauline, couldn't you tell Kathy was joking?

Re: 'Twas the night before...

Pauline on 8/07/04 at 16:27 (157165)

'If this were a different type of Board, our minds would be going the same direction as Pauline's.'

No, I don't happen to think this was much of a joke at all. Maybe others here would enjoy their name being associated with this insult. Mine wasn't going in her insinuated trashy direction.

Re: 'Twas the night before...

JudyS on 8/09/04 at 23:53 (157343)

Suzanne, I'm a few days late in contributing to your note about going back to school but I thought I'd add one little experience of my own......
It was just a week or so ago that my husband and I realized that this will be the first fall in nearly thirty years that we are not sending a child off to school.

Wow. I'll admit to a tiny tiny bit of nostalgia!


Re: 'Twas the night before...

Kathy G on 8/10/04 at 09:11 (157369)

Had to glance at the boards. We're on vacation this week and next. Day trips this week, the Cape next. You're a better person than I, Judy! This is the first time since 1977 that we haven't been sending a child off to school and I mentioned to my husband yesterday that I thought it was wonderful!

Re: 'Twas the night before...

john h on 8/11/04 at 09:52 (157504)

Kathy say hello to Falmouth on the Cape as I once lived there as a young 21 year old bachelor. It was a bachelor heaven as a new group of girls arrived every two weeks from N.Y and Boston. In the winter I milled around Smith and Wellsley..