September begins -- 09/01/09
But we all know what really brings summer to an end.... Yes, those big yellow school buses...
School started today in our town, earlier than usual due to the peculiarities of the calendar. Usually school starts here right after Labor Day (and the Labor Day holiday weekend is usually considered by many to mark the end of summer) but this year Labor Day comes as late as possible (being set as the first Monday in September) so school is starting today to avoid running to the end of June.
Teachers had to report for work yesterday, a day filled with meetings. Of course that's merely the first official day for teachers. As with most teachers, Nancy had put in a lot of hours in her classroom and I've gone with her this past Saturday and Sunday afternoons to lend a hand.
People wonder how teachers can spend so much of their own money. Oh, on stuff like boxes of tissues for dozens of runny noses... pencils for students who can never remember to bring one with them... paper and ink for printing materials (handouts, quizzes, homework assignments) at home because it is so much easier to print at home than to wait for a turn at the photocopier in the faculty room (even assuming it has enough toner and paper and isn't malfunctioning just when you need it)... painting their classroom (I saw several freshly painted classrooms, all done by teachers)... posters for classroom walls (fortunately Nancy has a large supply from previous years)... supplies for special projects... even furniture.
Nancy is in a new school as the district has done some reshuffling of schools. That is, new to her; it was built in 1964, with additional wings added over the years. (The school she has moved from was opened in 2001.) The teacher's chair in her classroom was an ancient and uncomfortable and unstable piece of junk, so on Sunday we went to Staples and bought a new chair... which I then got to put together.
Her new school is less than two-thirds of a mile away. She thinks she might walk some days. (She did yesterday.) Today she decided to try commuting by bicycle. Her bicycle dates back to her college days so she strapped on her backpack (heavy with books) and borrowed my bike. (I wisely decided not to try to snap a photograph as a memento.)
(Yes, we should also recognize that those of you who live in Australia and New Zealand are marking today as the first day of spring. Hope you have a great summer!)