Back to school. Those three words have the ability to disappoint and excite me at the same time.
I’m a teacher, so back to school means the end of The Most Glorious Summer Vacation. It means having to wear shoes, getting paper cuts, and deciphering the scribbly handwriting of eleven year olds. Headaches, dry erase marker on my pinkie finger as it drags along the board, and piles of homework to correct are just around the corner. Late nights hunched over assignments, early mornings setting up lessons, and the unsolvable riddle of the perfect seating plan are lurking on the September horizon like dark storm clouds.
My sunshine is fading. Autumn is waiting to take its hold. I see it in the fruit that is ripening, the leaves that are falling, the breeze that is cooling. Soon, I will leave behind the Blessed Summer Schedule which consists of sleep, eat, write, play with dog, sleep, eat, write, play with dog. I will be forced to go to bed at 11:00 p.m. and arise at 6:00 a.m., which is more than enough sleep, but my body clearly prefers to turn in at 1:00 a.m. and get up at 8:00 a.m. There will be no more late night chick flick-a-thons where I undoubtedly fall in love with some new actor. There will be no more tank tops and shorts.
I’ll have to wear make-up and do my hair. Ugh.
Fortunately, back to school also means a new set of bright young faces, ready to learn. It means improvements made to last year’s flops so they are this year’s favorites. Laughing with students and colleagues, making discoveries, and celebrating successes make teaching the best job around. Helping students reach their goals is a challenge I look forward to every day.
And let’s not forget the school supplies! Oh, how I love thee. The scent of freshly sharpened Number 2 pencils fills the classroom. Colorful markers with vibrant tips await students’ creativity. Empty notebooks beg to be filled with inspiration and information.
Anyone else getting the shivers? Is it just me?
Back to school also brings many questions. What will my new class be like? Will they be as awesome as last year’s? Will they be even better? What will I learn about teaching this year? How will I make a difference to these students’ lives? How will they make a difference to my life? Will they get my jokes? Will I make some of them cry? Will it be a long, arduous 180-day nightmare or a too quick 180-day whirlwind of fun and learning? How many snow days will we have? What will I pack for lunch? Will I even have time to eat lunch? How many times will I say, “Somebody forgot to put his name on this?” or “All lines are quiet lines?”
How many times will I really want to swear, but have to settle for a word like “fudge” or “sugar?”
So, in no time at all, the school year will begin. My characters will become a little quieter as I put on my teacher hat and focus on my students. It’s all good though. It’s nice to have the balance of real world and fictional world. Teaching and writing both course within my veins and I’m most happy when I can combine the two. Needless to say, writing class is my favorite and where we have the most fun. Young writers are the best! So honest and willing to take risks.
And I won’t relinquish the Summer too easily, rest assured. I may still wear my sunglasses, drink some lemonade, and go barefoot. You never know.
You can get a little back to school action in my paranormal romance, ABRA CADAVER, or further cling to Summer in my contemporary romance, KISSES TO REMEMBER. Can’t decide? Me neither. Read ‘em both!
Visit me at my website. Friend me on Facebook. I can also be found at The Roses of Prose blog on the 4th and 14th of every month and at Night Eternal, where I am the poetic voice of Drake, the vampire.