August and Everything After- Getting Ready for a New School Year

Flipping the calendar from July to August brings about a myriad of emotions for teachers, students, and families alike.  It’s “back to school” time!  A simple trip to your local Walgreens or Target store will make this time of year feel almost like a holiday.  There are huge store displays filled with a wide variety of just about every school supply you can think of.  Large heaps of new back packs are stacked on racks waiting for students to peruse them.  If personalizing your locker is your thing, you can find everything from special papers, mirrors, writing utensil holders, and trinkets like chandeliers and disco balls to make your locker a unique place.  There is no doubt about it, “Back to School” is a big deal.

The first day of school is an important event that marks a year of new beginnings and a right of passage, getting older and growing from one grade to the next.  How are you feeling about the start of the new school year?  Are you excited?  Are you looking forward to seeing your friends and other families again?  Perhaps you are really looking forward to meeting your new teachers?  Are you a little anxious or nervous?  Does the idea of learning new things make you enthusiastic and ecstatic, or does the thought of homework, projects, tests and quizzes put the Imperial March from Star Wars on repeat in your head?

My guess is if you’re at all like me or my family, you probably are feeling a combination of all of these emotions rolled into a tight knot in your stomach.    And, guess what?  This is all normal.

As a teacher, I am very excited to get back to class.  I am thrilled to meet my new students, try different lessons, explore different places around the world, make meaningful global connections, and, above all, watch students light up and get excited about learning.  I look forward to reconnecting with my colleagues, and seeing families that I haven’t seen in several months and meeting new families in the process.

Gracie & Hope in Door County during our summer vacation

At the same time, as a dad of two five year old daughters, Grace and Hope, who are entering senior kindergarten (K-5), I am waxing a bit nostalgic as I watch my little people grow up.  Tears were shed, and not by the five year olds, when we read “T’was the Night Before Kindergarten” this evening before bed.    I am so excited for my daughters and can’t wait for them to share with me what they learn in their lessons in class this year.  I also cannot believe that my little sweeties are now full-fledged kindergarteners.

Ryan, aka “Mr. Man” age 3 months
Then there is my son, Ryan (aka Mr. Man).  He is only three months old, so he hasn’t been bitten by the “back to school” bug, but, has found putting his thumb in his mouth as a rather interesting phenomenon these days.  Ryan has had an awesome summer going on adventures with his mommy, daddy and big sisters.  He will be starting daycare in November after my wife finishes her maternity leave.
photo[2]Speaking of my wife, I am also the husband of a teacher.  My wife Jeni (aka “Mrs. Piper”) is a fifth grade teacher as well, except her fifth grade class is in an elementary school and mine is in a middle school.  She and I this summer both got on Twitter, and, as the days in August march down towards the start of our school years, we begin to “talk a lot of shop” with one another.  In fact, she is writing her class’s blog as we speak!

As I hope you can see, the start of the school year brings about a lot of different emotions for a lot of different people.

During this school year, I sincerely hope that you will enjoy this blog, as we will be using it as a place to reflect, share, and ultimately learn together as educators, students and families.  Welcome to Mr. Piper’s Class.  I hope you enjoy your stay!