Life is full of endings and new beginnings: One season ends, the next one begins; a relationship ends, leaving room for the start of a new one; supper ends, dessert begins (unless you realize how short life is and decide to eat dessert first); and so it goes.
August always brings a realization that summer, with its lazy, carefree days, is fast coming to a close; and another new, sometimes hectic, school year is about to begin. No more slow summer mornings, enjoying coffee on the back porch, greeted by heavenly blue morning glories, breathing in the sweet honeysuckle and the fresh promises of a new day. No more piddling in the garden; no more leisurely lunches sipping southern-sweet tea by the pool; and no more designing and creating at all hours of the day or night.
No, in August, any designing or creation is now focused on my classroom, preparing for the arrival of a new batch of second graders, full of new promises and new goals for the coming year. The mornings will be greeted with little heavenly faces, rather than blue morning glories. Coffee breaks and leisurely lunches give way to spilled milk, forgotten lunch money, and choking down a PB&J while opening Slim Jims and juice bottles.
Though I’m always sad to see summer end, August does bring with it some nice beginnings. The temperature drops to the low 90’s, humidity a mere 89%, and afternoon rain showers bring relief to the now brown stick-flowers in the forgotten garden.
Seriously, though, as the routine of school begins, structure returns to my life, and I begin to focus on my students with their needs and goals. The responsibility of teaching them and helping to shape their lives toward service to God is as awesome as it is exciting. Watching them light up when subtraction finally makes sense, or seeing their smile when they successfully sound out a word truly makes the end of summer seem less of a loss.
August brings other new beginnings too: A new grade level, new friendships, and all those shiny, new school supplies. It’s a kind of new year of sorts, a time to reassess goals, implement new strategies, develop new ideas, try new projects. It brings the awareness that fall is just around the corner, the hope of cooler temperatures, festivals, craft shows, and before we know it, Thanksgiving.
This week has been spent re-orienting myself to a daily schedule, hard work, and a focus outside of myself. Next week, when the students come back, I will be ready with a renewed spirit, a clean classroom, and great possibilities to begin this new school year.
Reflecting on all the new beginnings that August brings makes saying good-bye to summer a little easier---that and the fact that I realized we only have sixteen weeks until Christmas vacation!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!