Preparing for school to begin another year is exciting for me, even though I retired in 1996. I can't resist looking at the displays of notebooks, binders, back packs, folders. Do kids still use spiral bound notebooks? I read that some schools hand out electronic notebooks and I-pads.
Calculators are used in many math classes. In my experience, kids can't make change, add, subtract, multiply or divide with their brains, and have no idea how to figure out how much carpeting a room would need, or how many quarts in a gallon. Heaven help them when they run out of batteries or the electricity goes off.
The marketers continue to expand the stuff kids desire. I'm seeing tee shirts and sweat pants with school names, water bottles, jewelry imprinted with school or team names. Just getting a new shirt or pair of jeans is not satisfactory---they must sport the current fashionably expensive brand. Do you ever wonder who makes these "rules" about fashion? I heard on TV recently that orange is the new black! Oh dear---I only like orange on fruit!
In my day---don't you hate that phrase?---we were fortunate to get a new pair of shoes when school began, and if we had grown, we needed a new pair of high top canvas shoes for "gym class." Even calling it "gym," sounds like a foreign word (it is from the Greek). We girls had to wear uniforms in gym---ugly things. Ours were light green. They required washing, starching, and ironing! Starching? Ironinig? More alien concepts today. We also had to take showers after gym" which we all hated. It was long, long ago, when girls were modest and easily embarrassed. (More foreign concepts?)
When we reached junior and senior high, we bought our own books. That was a fun time as we bargained for used books and sold our old ones. We learned market and trading skills doing that. Having to purchase "new books was a hardship for many families.
As a teacher, back to school prep was a time to tidy up my classroom, organize the reading material, put up posters and bulletin boards, make seatinig chars, and make general plans for the year. Daily lesson plans were done weekly.
I am a long way from being a student and being a teacher, but I remember both experiences vividly. It is fun to attend reunions, but a shock to learn how many classmated are no longer living. It is rewarding to see former students enter the larger world, and come home successful. It is rewarding to know our own children are responsible, competent, self-supporting adults, homeowners, raising families of their own.
Time and the river meander on...one grand child has graduated from college; two will be enrolling in college this fall; another will graduate from high school and one from junior high next spring. One will be a 10th grader, one in 8th grade and one in 7th. Life is good when the current flows on and deposits us where we are supposed to be....