Friday, August 16, 2013

first day feast

This amazing and delicious school-supply buffet by Jamie from Setting the Mood.  Suddenly I'm starving...

It's that time again.  In large part because of a course I took which required me to log 100 hours of "Preparing Effective Curriculum,"  I've been thinking about school all summer, and I knew because of the pattern of our family activities that this summer would feel particularly short.  But here we are on the morning of my first day back (yes, one ahead of the general schedule for special staff development) and I could say:  my summer's over.

As Daisy reminded me, Summer itself is not over, not by a long shot, but it's hard to remember that in the perennially pleasurable flurry of newness.  I participated in the exit interview for that course yesterday and sat with three other teachers who appreciate, as I do, the chance to Begin Anew each year, to rethink and improve and correct and refresh and embark and attempt.  We also appreciate the break that allows us to do this each summer.  I don't have to tell most of you that teachers have summer breaks because they NEED them to recover and regroup--ours is one of the most continuously intense kinds of work there is. 

[I believe in this annual New Beginning even though I also believe that we here in the US need to rethink our whole school schedule and move to the European one of just-about year-round school.*  It's the only thing that makes sense in our modern culture, and it's better for children and working families as well as teachers.]

So here's a Begin Anew poem.

First Day Feast

"Fresh" is a word I hear about food,
like "crisp" and "juicy" and "ripe."
But things feel fresh on the first day of school:
my new clothes are crisp,
my markers are juicy,
my brain feels ready and ripe.
All the stuff I learned last year
has sunk in deep and wet,
like feet in the sand and me in the pool.
Now I'm hungry!  Now I'm set
for a feast of the first-day type!

HM 2013

The round-up today is over at steps and staircases on tumblr, with our new host Lisa.  I hope I'm doing the right thing to post my link...

*In England, where I taught for 5 years, there are three terms of 12 weeks.  Each term is broken into two 6-week chunks by an entire week of half-term break, and there are 2-week breaks between terms.  School thus finishes around Wimbledon time each year, mid-July, and the summer break is "only" 6 weeks or so, but since teachers have not been driven sniveling into the ground by endless weeks of school punctuated only by the occasional Monday off, they don't need quite so much time to recover and regroup--that process is more ongoing.


  1. I love your back-to-school poem, Heidi! I agree that the US needs to revamp school schedules--I have friends whose children go to "year round" schools (four 9-week terms, divided by 2 weeks of vacation, with 6 weeks off in summer) and they say it is wonderful!

  2. Look at your feast! Sounds inviting. I have not started pulling my students from class yet(I teach gifted), but they have been in school for a week seeing me in the halls. They look at me with longing eyes and give me hugs and say when can I come to your class. All this makes me all the more ready to sink in next week.

  3. Happy First Day!

    I'm all for a more balanced school year...and a more balanced life! I'm so tired of being "driven sniveling into the ground by endless weeks of school punctuated only by the occasional Monday off"

  4. Heidi--I second your emotion about adopting a year-round school schedule to give more balance! I love your poem--juicy markers, crisp clothes and a brain that is "ready and ripe"--Ah, the first days of school. Hope yours was full of images like the ones you created in your poem.

    Thanks for sharing!


  5. I agree with your feelings about revamping the school schedule as well. When I lived in Australia, the schedule was just as Becky describes, but what was especially nice was that the 6 week summer break encompassed the Christmas and New Year holidays. Loved your poem too-- especially the line, "my brain feels ready and ripe."

  6. Hi, Heidi. Oh, yes -- the start of the year is such a feast, as you point out with glee in your poem. Enjoy your new kiddos. I know you will!

  7. Fun poem! Good luck to the start of a new school year!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!