The August 1st Curse

Today is August 1st. If you’re a teacher you know what that means. Every day now feels like Sunday night. Back at the end of June, you looked at your blank calendar; there were so many days and weeks ahead away from school. Now, beginning today, with July over, there’s little summer left.

This year marks my second year away from the classroom, yet I still think like a classroom teacher. For me, the year begins in September and ends in June.  Those two lovely long months in between are times for renewal, reflection, reading and planning.   I used to create a “to do” list, checking off each task that would stretch to the end of summer.

While I may not be in school, enough of my family are – daughter in college, sons in graduate school, grandkids in day care – to be reminded about how September to June marks the year, punctuated with holidays or family celebrations practically every month.

It’s not like teachers don’t want to return to school. My sister Madeline, an elementary ESL teacher, has already had meetings with colleagues. She goes back August 20. And no longer in many districts does school begin after Labor Day. Her kids arrive August 27.  She’s excited about new ideas and meeting her new students.

I don’t have to buy school supplies, decorate bulletin boards, prepare lessons, organize books, take out my clothes the night before and make lunches.  Instead, I’ll be a writing mentor to a high school student and have enrolled in a writing course;  both meet September to June.

With each school year, I remember looking at the years the kids were born. This post by Todd Pack reminded me of that. The other worry of course,  is what kids learn and how well they’re prepared for jobs. I wrote about that here. 


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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9 Responses to The August 1st Curse

  1. I have for the last few years been in Academic medicine where we had the July 1, curse. Now I am in College Health and I had to smile. We have been working at record pace to get ready for the return of students. Paint job for the office, waxing the floors and getting the records ready. The athletes come first. Orientation starts August 21. I have been working to revamp the web site and hope it is informative. Still have lots to do. Also fielding phone calls from parents and students. What an exciting time for both. Parents want to get it right. Students trying to navigate becoming independent.


  2. adinparadise says:

    Your plans sound exciting, especially the writing course. You should be kept very busy.


  3. I remember what it was like when I was teaching!


  4. Still measuring my year September to June… not sure it ever leaves you!


  5. Leah says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I still feel like my year starts in September and ends in June. I think it’s because until now, I’ve worked on a college campus for so many years. And now I have a daughter who lives by the school year. I love it. But I’m not the one teaching either. My mom retired from teaching kindergarten a few years ago. She still gets bummed in September remembering the fun of back to school.


  6. Pingback: Summer Slices | cyclingrandma

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