Back to School

I love back to school shopping. I haven't been a student for four years now, but I can not stop myself from buying school supplies. I just love them. Crayons all sharp and new smelling, fresh backpacks with no crumbs in the bottom or ink stains, perfect little spiral bound notebooks, boxes and boxes of college ruled filler paper, neon binders, planners, and glue sticks, there is just nothing like it. I think school supplies might be the only reason I have worked in education for the last 8 years, because we all know it's not the thanks we never get for shaping the lives of students and it's definitely not the pay check. Working in higher education we get thanked so little for the work we do that one of my colleagues and I have a special email folder with the dozen or so emails we have received in the two years we have worked at our college from the students who appreciated our hard work so we can make it through the days when 8 students yells at us and slams our own door in our face or tells us we are idiots and are ruining their lives because they have failed too many classes to get financial aid. I'm not looking for a Nobel prize but it would be nice if students were at least polite when I spend hours with each of them helping them figure out what they want to do with their lives.

Anyway, rant over, back to school supplies! I usually just get a couple little things for my self, a new box of crayons for work when students bring their kids, new pens, index cards for list writing, etc., but this year I wanted to do a little more. My aunt is a kindergarten teacher and even though she teaches at an A rated school in a nice area there are always kids that cannot afford supplies, so I bought two back backs and filled one with four sets of her school supply list and the other backpack with tissues, hand sanitizer, fun pencils, and a few little treasure box kind of items. It was so exciting know that if a little boy or girl comes to school on the first day of kindergarten with nothing they will be able to go home with a brand new backpack and brand new supplies. I realize that if they are coming to school with nothing there are probably much bigger problems in their lives than needing crayons or glue sticks, but at least that is one less problem for their parents to have to solve or for a five year old to have to worry about.

Education is so important every step of the way. I think that learning to enjoy learning and finding that thirst for knowledge is the key to being successful in education. You have to want to know more to learn, people can talk at you and make you do worksheets until your ears bleed and your fingers fall off, but if the curiosity isn't there students aren't going find answers to questions they don't have. I wish that every kindergartner could start school with the supplies they need, and a positive attitude about school and learning.  I wish parents would be encouraging even if they didn't have a positive education experience, because wouldn't you want your kid to have a better experience than you did.

I wish people would stop telling kids they can't learn something or succeed, because they can. Now I don't mean to say that anyone can be anything they want, we all have limits. We have to find those limits and work within them to be the very best we can be as individuals. We all have our own purpose in life and we aren't all made to be doctors, lawyers, and scientists. Some of us are made to be mechanics, plumbers, retail managers, farmers, teachers, artists, writers, bakers, or stay at home parents. All of those professions are absolutely necessary. We need to stop telling kids that to be "successful" you have to have a college education, or make six figures, or be something you don't want to be. We need to redefine success and that starts with telling students that doing something you love, even if that is painting or writing and making barely minimum wage selling art at shows or ebooks on Amazon, is success. Having your needs met, not always your wants, feeling like you contribute to society in a meaningful way, and being happy is success. 



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