Friday, August 9, 2013

Reflections from a Teacher's Wife

Each day we get closer and closer to Week 1....

For those of you who are teachers, you know what I'm talking about. But for those of you who don't, I want to lend some insight to living life with a teacher.

Although my husband has been done with teaching classes since the end of April (I know, early right?!), he's been so eager for August 12th, as this year he'll be with a new school and is excited to see what new beginnings that brings.

"Back to School" as we know it starts in early July. Right about 4th of July time, we start. It's kind of one of those weird things, similar to when Nov 1st hits, you see the Christmas tree display at Walmart. Yeah.... everyone else thinks we're nuts, but after July 4th, the countdown begins...

Five Weeks Before

Daniel started the craziness first with lesson planning, and re-planning. Outlining the topics for the semester as a whole, then whittling each week and day down for objectives and goals. Fortunately, my role in that was to just encourage him to plug through the work.

Four Weeks Before

Then come the slew of orientations, paperwork, and requirements. He braved two orientations (there's still another one- the campus tour, tomorrow), and came home with a stack of paperwork for me. There were lots of decisions to be made about health insurance, the teacher's union, pension plans, etc. I even had to pull a few extra documents and make copies for him to turn into HR. Fortunately, I think we're done with paperwork!

Three Weeks Before

Once we hit the four to three week mark before school starts, we hit the stores! I kept buying the Sunday newspaper just to check out which stores had the best deals on school supplies and clothes. My kitchen table had an inch thick stack of ads! You would think I had like 6 kids going back to school... hehe..

Fortunately, we took advantage of the sales the weekend before Tax Free Holiday Weekend (here in Florida) and scored big! I knew I was not going during the Tax Free time! While I could have saved money, I was too nervous about crowds and store supply, that I went early. Between shopping for school supplies, teacher supplies, and back-to-work clothes, we had to have gone to about two dozen stores (some of them even multiple times)!

Two weeks Before

One word... laminate, laminate, laminate! We hand-made and laminated close to a dozen posters for Daniel's classroom. While this was fun at first, after poster number 4, I was a little done in.. Rules signs, hallway rules, encouraging words, Literature posters- you name it, we did it! The girl at the lamination counter at Staples got to know us very well!

After poster making, we decided to hit the classroom for some decorating! How do you think we did?

One week Before

Now we're really getting close! Everyone else has got the back-to-school fever, and all the snacks are on sale at Publix. Wohoo! We're almost there! Usually at one week before, we go though his work clothes and toss, donate, or iron the good stuff. I stock up on those BOGO snacks for an easy classroom-stash for the teacher. And buy hand sanitizer like the germ apocalypse is coming!

This is also the time for last-minute melt-downs and doubts. How will things work out once school starts? Have I planned enough lessons? I'm not sure what times I have to be in for teacher work week. No one set up my school email yet. How am I going to get everything done? Will I be exhausted that first week?

I try my best to encourage, love, and plan. We go to bed early, and start practice getting up early. Silly, but if you started summer break on May 1, you'll need all the practice you can get!

With this crazy season, comes the season of "no". Back to school is busier for our family, more so even than Christmas time. It means saying "no" to everything and anything, in order to not burn out, not get distracted from planning, and prep well for a new school year. It was easy to say "no" to the things I might not have wanted to do these past few weeks, but where it was challenging, was saying "no" to the invites and trips that I kinda wanted to do. But, as a teacher's wife, I want to always be there for my husband- so we plan, and shop, and laminate together!

Here's to a great back to school and Week 1!

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