starting fresh

I take my position by my door and face the new school year.

“Good morning!”

“Happy Back to School!”

“How ya doin’ today?”

“Lookin’ tired!  Wake up and smile! We’re BACK!”

Faces wander past me.  Some familiar, some new.

The familiar ones give me head nods, high fives, shout out’s, even hugs.

“How was your summer, Mrs. Sluiter?”

“I heard you’re pregnant!  YAY!”

“Aw, I wish I had your class this year, Sluiter!”

“I read your blog.  I’m glad you are feeling better.”

I watch new faces walk through my door.

They don’t know me.  Some know of me, some do not.

There are shy smiles.

Some nervous, searching eyes.

The hallway where I stand is full of chatter, but as my classroom fills up, it is almost silent.

Most do not know what to expect.

The past students crane their necks past me to peek at the new kids filling up the desks that they used to occupy.

“Look out for that one, Sluiter!”

“Oh hey, you have my sister!”

“You guys are lucky!  Sluiter is the best!”

I laugh and shove the previous students down the hall to their new classes.

But inside, my heart smiles.

My soul feels a spark it hasn’t felt in months.

As the clock ticks down the last minute until the first class, new sneakers squeak against the newly waxed floor.

“Hurry up!  You don’t want a tardy on the first day!”

“Do you know what classroom you are going to?  208?  That is upstairs.”

“Are you looking for my class?  Mrs. Sluiter?  You found it!”

The bell rings.  Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong.

I take one last glance down the empty hall.

Smile.

Take a deep breath.

And as I close my door I announce with complete confidence,

“Welcome back to school and into Sluiter Nation!  We are going to have a GREAT year!”
Just Write

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