The Smell of Freshly Sharpened Pencils and Teenage Fear

It is official: I am back to school! After 3 LONG days of meetings, meetings, and even more meetings, I am finally sitting behind my desk in my classroom (on my NEW computer – thank you WPS) and I am realizing that I am SO not ready for 150 shiny 11th grade faces to pass through my room next Tuesday! I have gotten information overload on everything from ACT scores to how to use Windows Vista; from classroom procedure techniques to new gradebook procedures. I have grammar, vocab, literature, writing assignments, and syllabi floating around in my brain and none can find their way out into some sort of logical plan for the Quarter.

Part of this is my own fault. If you are a faithful reader, you know very well that I spent most of my summer having fun rather than drawing up lesson plans. You know that I spent more time at the beach than in my classroom. Well, I am here now! I didn’t think I was ready to go back. I kiced and I screamed. I protested and denied, but it came anyway. And you know what? I am actually OK with it. I really am.

Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen asleep in the chair two evenings in a row from sheer exhaustion. My body is NOT used to getting up at 5:30 am and working non-stop until after 4:00 pm, but after seeing a couple students in the hall today, I am ready to see a couple more 🙂

Am I ready for the on-slaught of excuses for lack of homework? Or how about the deluge of complaining about our new grading policy, our new attendance policy, and anything else teenagers can think of? What about saying things over and over and over and over to still hear, “wait! You never told us that! I didn’t know that was due TODAY!”

No, I never love those things. But there is something about new beginnings – the chance to start over again each fall. There is something about the smell of the freshly waxed hallways and the new books being taken out of boxes to be stamped and numbered. There is something wonderful about a new book being opened for the first time – that crackling sound inviting you to dig in! There is something about the freshly washed white board that just craves a new dry erase marker. There is a greatness in the sound of the office testing out the bell schedule. There is something wonderful about bags of back to school supplies and crisp, new posters on the wall. There is something invigorating and even inspiring about the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and teenage fear.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.