preparing my heart

Hooray for Popsicles!

Today is my last day before putting the boys in daycare full-time to get ready for the first day of school (which is Sept 4 ’round these parts).

We are off frolicking at the zoo with a bloggy friend to celebrate an awesome summer.

I’m trying not to beat a dead horse here, but hey, it’s my blog and I can beat whatever dead animals I want, right?

Wait. That didn’t sound right.

Anyway. School starting.

It’s a big transition for me every year.  It’s always brought on my anxiety in a big way.  If I were to create for you a nice graph of the past 10 years, you would see a giant, angry anxiety spike every single August.

That’s right.  10 years.

This fall starts my tenth year as a contracted teacher in my district.  I also did a semester of student teaching there and a total of 3/4 of a year long-term subbing in the high schools (over 2 school years).

This year, though, brings lots of changes.  Our district is down to one high school, and since we have combined the two we had, we are actually a brand NEW school.

We have a new mascot: The Wolves

We have new colors: Purple & Black (with Silver as an accent)

We have a new fight song, uniforms, paint in the building, gym floors, outside signs.

Tomorrow I go into my new room in the new building to begin creating my new space.

We are not allowed to put up any artifacts from either of the old high schools.  Not even any pictures of former students.

We are starting new.

No old traditions will be continued.  Everything will be created fresh.  We are starting the traditions that we hope will live on for generations.

You see, the two high schools that are coming together were rivals.

We need to now make them one.  One community.  One family of students.

It’s hard on me to not bring the past 12 years of students with me into this new room of mine.  But it’s time to start over.

And at the same time, I am preparing my heart to leave my boys.  Eddie for the 3rd back to school, Charlie for the first time ever.

It’s harder this year than it’s ever been.  Probably because of the sheer amount of change looming before me.  I don’t deal well with change…even when it’s super exciting and positive.  It’s hard for me to process.

Hence the anxiety spikes ever August, which have only gotten worse since having kids.

I have to prepare my heart to endure the pain of letting my boys go, and to expand it a bit to hold the students I will gain this year.

Each morning I have been spending time quiet and with the #SheReadsTruth assignment for the day.  I want to start the year with a good attitude toward my new school and the leaders.  I want a positive start to the year with my students and their parents.

And I want to come home and still be a happy, loving mother to my boys and wife to my husband.

I am letting myself grieve the loss of summer and time with Eddie and Charlie.  I am allowing myself to feel the sadness of having to switch Charlie from what he has known his whole life to a completely new routine with  new people.

I’m taking my new meds regularly to help control the depression that wants to creep in and the anxiety at bay.

But I am also letting myself be excited and happy to get back to the job I love.

And to look up and see the vacations from school that I am blessed with throughout the year to love on my boys…until next summer.

When we are together again.

So today, we are at the zoo.  I am not thinking about my classroom or lesson plans or what new school shirt I will order for casual Fridays.

Today I will be present for my boys so we can enjoy this last adventure of the summer.

You know, until next weekend when it’s Labor Day.

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.


  1. Oh, you’re going to do so well and be a great teacher AND momma to your baby boys!

  2. Wow the rules are kinda harsh. Though I get the reasoning, sometimes it is better to reflect on the past and be able to say, look how far we have come as a unit. You got this momma, I have no doubt in you at all.

    • I will miss the senior pics going up, but I will just have to take lots of pictures this year to put up to fill in the spaces with NEW students 🙂

      And thank you. It feels good to go in knowing there are people who believe in me!

  3. IN the words of Chase “Oh holy Batman…” lots of changes.
    You’re going to do mahhhvelous.
    It may be a bumpy transition but you’re Katie.
    You can rock this.
    You know you can.

    • Thanks, you. I am hoping you are all right. But it feels good to have you all in my corner (and computer) rooting me on!

  4. The high school in my town did the same thing a couple years ago, and I think the rules were similar. There were some hurt feelings over some of them 🙁

    Sending hugs. And anti-anxiety vibes. xo

    • I am interested to see how the students will react because I teach 4 sections of Spanish 2 this year to grades 10-12. That means if the kids came from my old high school, I will know them since I was the ONLY Spanish 1 teacher last year. So they will notice right away what things I don’t put up this year. It’s all going to be…interesting.

  5. My our high school went through this in the early 60s. There are still people arguing over it. Good luck with burying the past!
    p.s. Go Wolves!

    • my husband is still bitter that they built a new building for our high school before his senior year and he had to go to it. Weirdsies.

  6. Wow! That’s a lot of changes! And not being allowed to bring old stuff from former students. Yikes. That feels cold! Quick! First assignment! Better get them to draw something. Or something. Because that sounds über-sterile. Sheesh!

    I can hardly imagine the idea of leaving Eddie and Cha-wee! Sooo hard. But you are going to be great. Get that crock pot out, girl!

    This is my first time in a long time that I will not be in the classroom. I think I’m done. Time to find some new joy. Probably.

    • It will be way interesting to see how the kids react to the “new” school. Half the kids will have gone to school in that building, but under a different name. The other half will have been in my building with me. So I get that we have to rework the perception of both halves of kids to what this building is now: a new, united school.

      But it could get tricky.

      And then on top of that I am leaving my BABY for the FIRST time.


      I just have to do it. Feeling ok about it will come, but fake it ’til you make it, right?

  7. I like this article about school starting! It’s great and your blog is awesome!

  8. You’ll be great! New adventures and memory building in the new school. You can be a creator of traditions.
    And a creator of traditions at home. Every evening a special greeting routine for your boys, all three of them.
    Hugs and strength coming your way. Embrace and enjoy the adventure!

    • I love this attitude, and it’s what I am trying to do…find the positive and then BLOW IT UP even bigger! Here we goooo!!!!

  9. Change does suck, but you seem to be handling it well, being open to it, embracing it, acknowleding its difficulty. Just remember we’re all just a tweet away if you need lifting up once it all gets moving.

    • Girl, you always have the most positive comments for me. Seriously. And if I get too overwhelmed, you know I will be tweeting you from a hiding spot under my desk!

  10. I will be cheering for you on tomorrow and in the coming days for transition. Best to you!


  11. For me, new is scary. I wish it weren’t true. I wish I were more brave.
    But I’m not.


    The mantra I repeat in my head is “New can be good. New can be fresh. New is a beginning.”

    I hope you can believe this, too.

    • new IS always scary. Good, bad, indifferent. New = scary.

      Eddie told me tonight before bed that I will be a great teacher tomorrow.

      I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I am only setting up my classroom tomorrow.

      But it did help that he was happy for me to go to school. That he is proud of me.

  12. Good luck, Katie — it sounds like so very much going on all at once. You’re going to rock the transition, though. You know that, right?

    • it is a LOT, you are right. But I just have to break through the A LOT and do it.

      I don’t really know it, but if you all believe it, it must be true. I mean, you are all on the INTERNET and nothing is untrue on the internet, right?

  13. good luck. i’m sure everything will work itself out once you get back into a routine.

  14. I hope you enjoy your first day back!

  15. Wow, sounds like there’s a lot going on! Good luck!

  16. What an interesting way to start the school year. I’m down in Texas where the high school rivalries are something FIERCE due to football and I can’t imagine combining with our rival school. Yikes. That should definitely be a learning experience – not only a transition for you going back to work but you’ll have to help those kiddos transition throughout the school year.

    I just went back this week and as much as I miss the lazy days of summer, I am kinda happy to be back in a routine…….just remind me of this sentiment in a few months when I’m complaining about waking up and going to work and missing my baby. 🙂

    • Yeah, we are not as fierce as southerners are about our rivalries, but it was pretty intense, so it will be interesting to see how it goes down with the students.

      I am looking forward to the school routine too…but like you, I am afraid I will be taking this all back mid-October and longing for the days home with the baby and boy!

  17. Hey! I feel ya girl, but guess what? It’s gonna be great. You’re gonna do great. The boys are gonna be fine. And like you said, we have the “pleasure” as educators of having “the summers off” and spending time with our kids periodically throughout the year on our mini-school breaks.

  18. Kids need you… you are a mom and a teacher. And you CAN do both. I know you can. xoxo