One Sunflower

what it takes

on August 12, 2010

It’s August, and while the doors to the building have been open all summer with the custodian working diligently to clean every floor and crevice, it is now, in these last and hottest days, that the migration of the teachers back to their classrooms has begun in earnest.

Jane arrives, 6 months pregnant with her second child,  her mom and 2-year-old in tow.  “We’re just going to arrange the desks today.  I’ll be in next week to work on curriculum.”

The light in one of the kindergarten rooms blinks on as Martha opens the door from the parking lot.  This will be a different year for her, balancing roles as kindergarten teacher and ELL specialist.   She’s excited about the challenge but is a bit overwhelmed about being ready for the first days.

Tamara’s big truck has been in the parking lot off and on all summer.  She takes advantage of the track and trails around the school to exercise and always pops into her special ed classroom getting her head and space together for the coming year.

I’ve seen the evidence of others who have been out here.  The student desks in their classrooms are arranged in groups, their computer is uncovered and there is poster paper on bulletin boards ready for the “welcome” signs.  Our first pay-day is August 25th, when we gather as a staff to reflect on the past year, examine tools we want to put in place for this year, and mostly come together readying ourselves for the young faces we will be greeting on September 1st.  The local newspapers have begun articles about last year’s testing results, new administrators, new curriculums and heart warming stories of students.

There won’t be the “before” pictures of teachers in jeans and t-shirts moving desks into place, stapling colored paper across walls, hauling books and supplies out of cabinets and loading up plastic bins with everything it takes to be “school.”  But all of it matters, all of it is this dynamic thing we call “public education” but most of the public has no idea of what teachers do on their own time, often in quiet and private ways, to get ready.

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