Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Slice of Life & Sharing Our Stories: It's Back to School Time!

I arrive out of breath, unprepared, after the bell has already rung. I was summoned by our school secretary who called when I failed to show up for school. When I arrive at my classroom door (which I needed help finding since I have a new classroom and a new grade level assignment in a new wing), the "substitute grabbed for the moment" has already opened the door. I try to shoo the students back into the hallway, so I can greet them individually at the door, per my usual practice. But there are so many of them!

I have no lesson plans and all my "go-to" first day ideas don't work for this grade level.  I muddle my way through the morning until someone arrives to tell us it's time for recess. I step into the hall, eager to connect with three fellow grade level teachers, frantic to know which textbook of the many on the shelves is the right one to begin with. They look at me with judgment in their eyes and little understanding for a colleague who would fail to show up for inservice days and then be late for the first day of school.

Somehow I make it through until lunch when I hope to try once again to connect with my grade level colleagues. And that's when I discover that my lunch time is different from the three of them! I head off in search of our principal, furious of how I've been treated and wanting to know why I didn't receive the summer letter about inservice days and why on earth no one called when I failed to show up for them. She's nowhere to be found. 

I return to class, still frantic, but trying my best to muddle through. Someone comes to tell us it's time for afternoon recess. When I step into the hall, I come face-to-face with our principal and I utter three words, " Go to _ _ _ _ !" (and I am not a woman who swears) before I awake with tears streaming down my face. 

Every nightmare of classroom management was manifest in my classroom of 30 students. 

And my new grade level? Kindergarten!

I'm beginning my eighth year of retirement from teaching middle school language arts and social studies.

One question. Do the first day of school nightmares ever go away?


  1. I can relate with your story. Every year, I would have the back to school 'nightmare' dreams! And even after retiring, I'd have a few...always about our biggest fears-classroom management. Do you sub? I've enjoyed subbing and don't have the nightmares linked with opening the school year.

    1. I subbed for awhile, but prefer my grandma gigs to subbing!

  2. OMG Ramona! My father in law is a retired teacher. He says he still occasionally has school nightmares. My husband's hopes that these will end when we retire has officially been dashed.

  3. Amazing how many anxieties you packed into one slice! All the worst fears. I had my pre-Back-to-school nightmares a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely relatable.

  4. Ramona, that was some huge nightmare. Our worst fears are all tied up in what could happen and what didn't turn out. I have not been sleeping lately again and I think it is because I am trying to organize my office so I can then organize my files. I was to present a virtual PD presentation on poetry to a Long Island reading association and another to a librarian group. That with trying to get the house to dos in order and just coming out of a six week stint with sinus issues makes for a muddled sleep pattern. I had to laugh at your last line! Great slice for back-to-school, even when we aren't going back on a regular schedule.

  5. Oh my gosh, what a nightmare! I relate to this so very much!

  6. What relief you must have felt when you woke up!