Old school teachers do not think in terms of cool weather and pretty leaves. We think of lesson plans and setting the alarm. It's fall. It is time to go back to school.
I was recently asked to speak to Gwinnett County Retired Educators celebrating their 50th year in existence. I was thinking, "Wow. 50 years. That is a long time. Some of those teachers are ancient."
And then it hit me. I started teaching 50 years ago, No wonder I was asked to speak. I was ancient, and I spoke their language, We went through that period of time when women did not wear pants, We knew the pains of girdles and garter belts. Dresses and heels every day. And we had a different type of student back then. Educators had parent support to do our jobs, and the parents would do theirs.
Mama used to say time changes all things." And thank goodness it did. We got panty hose. Now you youngsters have no idea what a jay it was to have your lower body encased in plastic. It was better than a garter belt cutting you in two. And then, pants suits were allowed. The tops had to come down to the bottom of your fingertips and cover your derriere. Even that was a gift from the goddesses.
I grew up and started teaching in the miniskirt age of the 1960-70s. Miniskirts were not as long as the tops required for the pantsuit. I remember going to a restaurant on a date and was told that I could not come in wearing pants. Fine. I stepped into the parking lot and pulled off the pants. Stuffed them in my purse and entered wearing a mini skirted dress.
I taught art to high school students, When I told them my story, the girls cheered! I was a rebel back then!
Fall is a strategic and traumatic time for many. For teachers, we had trepidation about doing a good job and having great students. For the kids, there was the fear factor of another year of homework, tests, and developing maturity. That last thing is the most frightening. Establishing who you are while not quite an adult and no longer a child is a very confusing time.
Fall also brings new engagements in the sickie-ickies. All summer, germs have been mutating, so new strains would attack the school population and, in turn, dill the parents and members of the household. New teachers should get an extra week of sick leave for their first two years of teaching experience. They are sicker than any student.
Fall brings school sports into play. (Yeah, I know. A pun, and a puny pun at that.) The girls have bought new fall wardrobes. We are in the South, It is September and 89 degrees in the shade. Those beautiful sweaters are still in the closet as the kids wear short-sleeved summer clothes into October. On the first day, when temperatures drop into the
low 70s or high 60s, the classrooms burst into color like the trees- all in the new cherished fall outfits.
Fall is a time to participate in change. In Greek mythology, Persephone returns to the Underworld. The Earth begins to die, only to be rejuvenated in the spring when she returns to the Earth's surface.
For many of us, fall begins a new dimension in our lives through education, The need for summer break to harvest crops has been replaced with laughter, pools, summer jobs, and freedom. Our late mornings and later evenings are now switched to a demanding schedule. As the Earth reverts to its autumnal slumbers, our children begin a new process of growth.
Enjoy your fall, y'all.
XOXO, Mama Marlene