Soucheray: Seasons: an ending, a beginningI have resisted writing about getting geared up to go back to school because I didn’t want, in any way, to diminish the glorious long summer we have had. Albeit hot, it has truly been a summer to remember.
I have resisted writing about getting geared up to go back to school because I didn’t want, in any way, to diminish the glorious long summer we have had. Albeit hot, it has truly been a summer to remember. And if we want to live in the moment, paying too much attention to the next season can be distracting from the present.
So as you have headed out to local retailers to purchase school supplies, new clothes and shoes and the all-too-familiar backpacks, have you enjoyed these waning days of summer? Did you, or will you, take one last trip to the cabin or a boat trip and an overnight on a sandbar on the river? Will you spend one more night star-gazing and watching for those mysteriously spectacular shooting stars? Or will you take in one more museum trip, the one you’ve been putting off all summer and now it just can’t wait? May I suggest the Pirate Exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum?
Is your garden full of sumptuous produce and lovely fall-looking flowers in bloom for just this season? I planted several tomato plants back in May and am now reaping the rewards by the buckets-full of red, ripe Roma tomatoes, just right for chili this winter, as well as a spaghetti dinner or homemade lasagna. My basil has gone completely crazy, with leaves the size of an adult hand, that smell so fabulous they belie that they are growing in the garden and not tucked into a bottle in an herb cupboard.
As the summer winds down, I realize this is my second year not returning to the classroom and there is a twinge of sadness, as this would have been my 25th year of having a teaching license. As students prepare to meet their teachers at back-to-school nights all over the city in the next weeks, I can guarantee you that the teachers are as excited about the upcoming year as the children are. A new year, complete with a fresh, bright set of lesson plans, seating charts and parent handouts can be as thrilling for the teachers as it is for the children returning to the classroom to engage in another year of learning.
When you find out whom your child’s teacher is for this upcoming year, as well as whom their classmates will be, set the stage for great expectations by enthusiastically engaging with them in the excitement of what is to come. Let them know you believe in their ability to do very well in the subjects of this upcoming year and that they will have your support to accomplish wonderful things.
And as you complete the school supply shopping, be sure to find out about whether you must provide a planner, or agenda, or whether the school plans to do so. Beginning as young as third grade, children should be encouraged to begin taking responsibility for knowing what their homework is and when it is due. Knowing whose job is what will be of great assistance to everyone as the year gets underway.
Before the school year begins, have a talk with your children about what your responsibilities will be, such as to provide clothing, food, your house and transportation to school or child care. The child’s job is to listen in school, get along with their peers, remember to bring their lunch or lunch money, do their homework and turn it in on the day for which it was assigned and to be as good a student as they can be. Going to school is their job right now, and just like you, they should be prepared everyday to do their best.
The teacher’s job is to provide a safe, engaging learning environment that is structured and organized as he or she communicates their expectations with the students and parents in order that the best learning possible will occur throughout the school year.
As we wrap up summer and take a hold of a new school year, think about how you will mark an ending and a beginning. If you can think of something special in which to engage the whole family in these last two weeks of summer vacation, plan it now so that it provides wonderful memories throughout the year ahead.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist