I have seen a new Wal-Mart commercial, recently. It opens with a well-dressed mom walking in her front door and calling to her kids that she has returned from shopping for their school supplies. The kids come running and root through the packages with glee – just like Christmas. The kids, a girl and a boy, thank their mom for getting just what they wanted. It is way overdone and an announcer voices over the action and says, ‘We know your kids don’t act like this about their school supplies, so why should you pay too much for them? Come to Wal-Mart for your school supplies this year.’ It is a good commercial and it drives their point home, few people enjoy shopping for school supplies, mainly because what it means going back to school.
Tuesday afternoon we went school supply shopping. Both kids had lists of supplies they needed and the list goes on. My school has supply list as well and it, too, is an extensive list. I do not know how much it all costs. We try to reuse what we can calculator, backpack, rulers and a few other items can be reused year after year. However, pens, paper, and notebooks are necessary. Teachers need supplies, too and I was happy to join my family in the second part of the annual odyssey of school supply shopping. We do not shop at Wal-Mart but chose instead Target. Target has two stores close to where we live. The kids and Beth had visited the Wheaton store earlier and I joined them for the ‘raid’ on the Warrenville location in the evening. With schools starting around the area within the week, the store was busy, but prepared. Bins were stocked, neat, and organized. However, we did not help. We were able to find most of the items on our list, for me it was pens, colored markers and pencils, rulers, and glue sticks. I had been at school earlier in the day and had taken stock of what I had and knew what I needed. I needed to stock a few project boxes my students could use in class and I found just what I needed at a good price. I marvel at some of the items for sale billed as school supplies that serve to distract students from learning, but I kept my mouth closed. My pet peeve is the list that calls for an 80-page wide-ruled single subject notebook, when only 70 or 100 page notebooks are available. Are we that late? Or is the list just too specific? Will ten fewer pages be too few, or are twenty pages wasteful? I am just happy if a student HAS a notebook and something to write with that still works! Enough about school supplies – we got what we needed and perhaps a bit more and were home quickly.
As I mentioned earlier, I had visited my school and started setting up my morning room. I am downstairs to begin the day with two classes – the first is geography and the second is Language Arts a block class. I am upstairs in the afternoon for Language Arts again. I plan to work on the afternoon room on Thursday or Friday. For most of my teaching career, I have taught social studies – in particular seventh grade geography. I love the subject and am truly passionate about it. Over the course of my career, I have collected many books and other materials I use as references when students have questions. I have two sets of encyclopedias one published in 1967 and the other in 1986. The information may be dated – neither has a listing for Barak Obama, George Bush, or even Bill Clinton, But if I have a question about how the Pacific Ocean got its name or where is Burkina Faso I can send a student to find it. The problem is most students would rather ‘Google’ it. Encyclopedias are old school Google! I remember looking up subject as innocuous as ‘uranium’ and spending the next hour reading the U volume turning page after page. This is probably no different from going to a webpage and ending up somewhere else on a different topic, but at least I was in the same letter! I unpacked them and shelved them in a convenient location. I had questions about posters and needed to think some more and I sat down and fired off an e-mail to my downstairs roommate, a young teacher and a new mom:
I am still thinking about the wall – I can add some geography decorations on two (or more) of the panels. I just do not have the material for LA to decorate more….
I unpacked several boxes that are multi-use and you can use as well – set of encyclopedia (ol’ school Google) the info never goes out of date – the name changes to protect the innocent. However, LBJ was president when they were published.
I added books from a Time-Life series which are a social studies subjects, also published in the sixties…. we had not made it to the moon, yet and some country books as well…..
I’ll be teaching Geography and LA in the classroom and I am still really uncertain what to set up and not to set up. Last year I unloaded everything downstairs and finished the day upstairs. I stayed upstairs to work and rarely came downstairs after school. I do not know how it will work. I prefer the quiet of the classroom after school to the office and I am ‘piler’ (sorry), to boot.
I will not be in Wednesday. I have a meeting on Thursday AM and will be staying after school to work as well. So, I will see you Thursday.
Take care and I am looking forward to a great year!
I sent it off and got a reply late Tuesday night. ‘Do not worry – it will work out,’ she replied. Yes, we will, we will figure it out and have the room ready for the students on Tuesday morning. And I’ll get a chance to work upstairs as well. I am not worried, it will be a good year and it will work out.
Overall, it was a good day, worthwhile, and well spent. Though, not as much fun as walking the streets of Paris or cheering William and Olivia on as they skied, or any of the other activities which makeup a summer. Summer is over; there is one day left, our last hurrah. We are headed to the city, Chicago, and Cubs game with an afternoon spent together. It will be a good day, perhaps a million and six times better than today. Regardless, we will jump in and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.