Back To Cool
Ah, fall. My favorite time of year. There’s a refreshing crispness in the air that means I’ll no longer break a sweat just going to get the mail. My sunburn will fade to a golden hued glow, I’ll bust out the cowboy boots and the cozy woolen socks… and then a pageant of pumpkin flavored treats will begin. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soups…
And of course, I’ll be back to molding young minds. That was my first thought, I swear! It’s back to school time, kids. My district began professional days this week. There will be no students until after Labor Day (as it should be, I find it cruel and unusual to bring students back to school in August) so the most excitement I’ve had so far is saying hello to missed colleagues and maybe a sneeze attack from unpacking dusty school supplies.
As a teacher, I’ve loved and dreaded the back to school ritual almost as much as I did as a kid. Out there in America right now, new sneakers are being broken in, names are being written on crisp new backpacks, pencils are being sharpened and summer reading assignments are being frantically compleated.
So what’s on this teacher’s back to school wish list?
1) Bern Bike Helmet
Back to school means back to bike commuting! I’ve been in the market for a new bike helmet that does double duty for style and utility for quite some time now and this Bern helmet fits the bill! It has a visor! And the shape of it means minimal helmet head once I arrive at class. It’s a keeper!
2) An iPad/Netbook
Emphasis on the wish part of wish list with this one, obvs. I see more and more teachers using iPads and it’s easy to see why. Especially for people like me who don’t have their own classrooms and move around as much as I do it’s an incredibly useful tool. Imagine having access to all of my lesson plans no matter where I go? Being able to plug and play with any smartboard in the district? If I get the idea to show my class a youtube clip of David Tennant’s Hamlet, voila, I can show them the youtube clip of David Tennant’s Hamlet! I could answer emails and schedule meetings with the tap of a finger anywhere I go. My middle name would be Productivity. Nay, my first name would be productivity. If I can find a way to make this gadget mine, I will.
3) New Dry Erase Markers
Want to get in good with a teacher? Fer chrissakes, don’t bring us any more apples. You don’t even need to bring us any coffee. Just bring us a packages of shiny new dry erase markers and we’ll love you forever. It’s that easy. Students seem to find dry erase markers infinitely theft worthy, or at least infinitely wasteable as evident by the freakin’ Guernica of doodles that seem to appear on any available white board the moment I turn my back. We always need them.
Ball point pens and hi-liters are a close second on the list of things that a teacher will fall to their knees and praise you for giving them. I live in a perpetual state of, “where’s my pen?”, I never have enough, and every time I think I do I turn around and they are all gone .
4) Classroom Sets of All My Favorite Plays
Since there is no such thing as an anthology of quality dramatic literature for the middle grades (trust me, I’ve looked) that isn’t full of hoakey shit that teens are “supposed to relate to”, when I want my students wrap their heads around a well made play I have to run around making photocopies and gathering up every dog-eared copy of, “A Raisin in the Sun”, I can get my mitts on. Kids don’t like handling large bundles of photocopies. Teachers don’t like brow beating kids when the large bundles of photocopies inevitably fall apart, end up missing pages or are crushed beyond recognition in the bottom of a backpack. Plus, I just think my students deserve the dignity of getting to read a real book. Another great gift for any teacher? A gift certificate to a bookstore. We’ll use it.
5) Some Respect
You didn’t think I was going to write an entire post without getting political, did you? Teachers all over the nation are expected to prepare students for the 21st century with resources and facilities that are outdated, inadequate and even sometimes unsafe and unsanitary. Great education doesn’t just mean great teachers, it means providing a resource rich environment for kids. With books, and computers and adequate heat and lighting. We deserve it, the kids deserve it. We shouldn’t have to fight for it.
Happy back to school, everyone. May this new beginning be a great one.