Start of the New School Year

The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How did you feel about the start of the school year grow­ing up?

As far as I remem­ber, I was usu­al­ly excited—at least after 7th grade or so. School up to that point was so intense­ly bor­ing that I could­n’t wait to get out of it so I could go back to what­ev­er I was read­ing or doing in the woods some­where. I hat­ed sec­ond grade so much that I think I spent most of it nap­ping in the school clin­ic (we had one with sev­er­al lit­tle alcoves and beds. I think I may have been hav­ing migraines, honestly). 

Up until 7th grade, it seemed that the first half of every year was spent review­ing what was done the pre­vi­ous year because so many peo­ple did­n’t real­ly learn it or for­got every­thing dur­ing the sum­mer. I kept think­ing, “I’m here why? They could just tell the rest of us when the review is over. I’m wast­ing my life here!” I think it’s telling that I spent much of the 4th and 5th grades act­ing as an unof­fi­cial sub­sti­tute teacher and did­n’t miss a bloody thing by not being in my own class.

In 7th grade, we final­ly start­ed doing more seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic work. That’s the first year that I recall any sci­ence con­tent that could actu­al­ly be called sci­ence since we had lab assign­ments. Before that, we had lit­tle texts about ani­mals and geol­o­gy and the plan­ets, but it was all so ele­men­tary that it might as well have been a stack of Lit­tle Gold­en Books. The only dif­fer­ence was that we had lit­tle vocab­u­lary tests and the occa­sion­al find-a-word puz­zle relat­ed to the con­tent. (Dear ele­men­tary teach­ers: You’re doing it wrong, or you cer­tain­ly were in the 70s! I learned a lot more by read­ing through the pub­lic library and mess­ing around with the micro­scope and lab kits I got for Christ­mas one year. Although I think maybe the lab kit was meant for my sis­ter and she did­n’t want it, so I end­ed up with it.)

I also had my first tru­ly out­stand­ing teacher that year, Ms. Keifer. I think her first name might have been Karole Ann, but I’m not sure. In any case, she taught Eng­lish at Lil­burn Mid­dle School, and I was in her home­room. She was won­der­ful! She gave me a copy of the Lord of the Rings tril­o­gy, with one caveat: I had to pass them on to some­one else when I fin­ished them.

Back then, the Braves gave out free tick­ets to Atlanta area stu­dents who made straight A’s. I won tick­ets sev­er­al years in a row, as I recall. I did­n’t hon­est­ly care to go, but it was a fam­i­ly oblig­a­tion thing, so I did — with whichev­er vol­ume of LOTR I was read­ing at the moment in hand. Dad­dy had a great laugh when we encoun­tered anoth­er fam­i­ly sit­ting near us whose son had won tick­ets. Their son had his nose in anoth­er vol­ume of LOTR!

It def­i­nite­ly helped that my cousin, Lori Goss, taught me how to put on make­up dur­ing a vis­it back home to Gads­den that year, which boost­ed my con­fi­dence a lot. I don’t remem­ber if her big sis­ter Kim cut my hair into “wings” or how that hap­pened (I do remem­ber the perm Aunt Bet gave me, which was my first).

Cyn is Katie's mom, Esther's Mémé, and a Support Engineer. She lives in the Atlanta area with her life partner, Rick, and their critters. She knits, does counted-thread needlework, reads, makes music, plays TTRPGs, and spends too much time online.
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