School starts next week in Bryan County and, funny as it may seem, one of my favorite days of the year was the first day of school. Maybe it had something to do with the new clothes Mom took me shopping for, or the new boxes of crayons and pencils. Of course, it could have been the new “Snoopy” lunch box with the cool thermos holder - which I still have to this day.
Most likely, though, my fond recollection of the first day of school was being able to see all my friends once again. We lived in a rural area of town, and most of my schoolmates lived too far away to visit during the summer months.
And who could forget the anticipation of meeting your new teacher for the first time? My wife, Jennifer, is a first-grade teacher and has been teaching young children for over 25 years, God bless her. The cool thing about her job is she gets to relive the first day of school over and over, again and again. What a life!
Seriously though, she has a great understanding of just how important the first day of school really is. It sets the tone for the rest of the year. She begins decorating her room long before she is required to report for the pre-planning sessions.
I remember that a few years back she came up with the slogan, “First grade is a piece of cake.” She cut out all the letters and placed the saying at the front of her classroom. When her children arrived on the first day, she made them feel at ease and played games and sang songs. At the end of it all, they ate cake! Wow, I love cake.
The first day of school can be formidable as well. This year, Jennifer is reading the book “First Day Jitters” to her class. It’s about Sarah Jane Hartwell, who does not want to get ready because she is going to a new school. In fact, Sarah doesn’t even want to get out of bed. Sound familiar? The book has a surprise ending so I won’t give it away … but it’s safe to say that everything works out well for Sarah.
At the end of the day, all the children will have a snack and drink “jitter juice.” I think the juice alleviates all those first-day jitters. Sounds good to me; I’ll have a large please.
How about you? Have any fond memories of those first days of school? One of the greatest things you can do for your children and grandchildren who are about to embark on a new school year is to share those stories. Children need to know it's OK to be anxious about the first day of school. Meeting new friends and teachers is exciting and scary at the same time.
The good news is that kids no longer have to walk 5 miles through the rain and snow, like we did when we were going to school. Thank God for school-bus drivers, too.
DeLong is the executive director for The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.