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Getting back into the swing of things has proved to be a little challenging. I love this blog, but it has definitely taken a back burner. But I think it’s safe to say that I am back with the pedal to the metal, raring to go.

The challenges of the past two weeks:

  • Waking up at going to bed at a respectable hour.
  • Leaving work at a decent time.
  • Traffic, especially because of baseball and the Giants.
  • Making time to exercise.
  • Sore legs. This is ridiculous because I have been teaching for 11 years. But my poor feet and legs have been in flip flops or running shoes all summer, not high heels.

The glories of the past two weeks:

  • Self-sufficient students. I swear to you, I ask them to do something and it’s done. Instantly.
  • Awesome coworkers who were happy to see me back.
  • Hyper-organization due to sharing a classroom with the french teacher.
  • Warm classroom days in Palo Alto, fog-cooled nights in San Francisco.
  • Being social with friends.
  • Some, ahem, attention after returning a little slimmer and a little tanner.

I love the beginning of school. It reminds me of growing up. In fact, I love the Fall as well. Autumn clothes, autumn leaves, sharpened pencils. Everything clean and crisp and organized. Hopefully it will stay this way for at least a month!

In elementary school, all my friends and I went to the same hairdresser. Our moms were all friends, and each of us had matching Dorothy Hamill haircuts, lacy ankle socks, and new dresses. There’s a picture of four of us, some with toothless smiles, clutching our Trapper-Keepers and lunchboxes, standing in front of our new 2nd grade  classroom. The picture radiates excitement.

I have been documented since my first day of preschool–next to the fireplace or at the front door, holding my binder or backpack or lunchbox. Preschool through high school. I think my mom on the years she came with me to set me up each year of college (I moved a few times, and I drove, so I needed a partner in crime), she usually snapped a picture there as well.

Oddly perhaps, I continued that tradition once I became a teacher. I now have 11 of these bizarre snaps of myself, usually reflected in my full length mirror. There’s an excitement to the first day. This year, I had a brand new apple-red shirt dress, and black flats. Not so different probably from my 2nd grade picture. Fortunately, I look a little different. But the emotion and adrenaline are still the same. I sent it to my folks, and my best friend. It’s my own tradition, one that I love.

I am so lucky to do what I am best at, and what I consider my passion. Last year was a complete fluke year career-wise. Too many circumstances caused the year to go south. Most were out of my control and despite my exhausted attempts to make things better, I was beat. But this year, it’s like old times. I’m happy, my students are happy, WE are happy. We have a saying on our team–it’s either an overpaid year or an underpaid year. Last year for what I went through, I was definitely underpaid. This year looks like an overpaid year. I will take every dime and thank whomever has let me have a year of pleasantries.

Dolly’s “9 to 5” is one of the best songs ever, and the movie is in my top 10. But I can’t bring myself to agree with her words. I did when I worked in finance. But I don’t work for a bossman anymore. My bossmen are 13 year-olds who need me to work hard. Last year I was waitin’ for the day my ship’d come in, and the tide’s gonna turn…And it all does roll my way. Game on.

The pedal is to the metal. I am raring this engine and I am ready to go. School’s in session folks!

What’s your best first-day-of-school memory?

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here–Weezer

Congratulations–The Traveling Willburys

Behind the Wall–Tracy Chapman

Neighbours–The Rolling Stones

One Week–Barenaked Ladies

9 to 5–Dolly Parton