The anticipation started building mid-July, as soon as those crazy big box stores starting moving the home and garden section to make way for school supplies. The wheels had been set in motion months prior but that's when it started to become real. The first time I saw no. 2 pencils all neatly lined up on the shelves. Shopping trips began to take longer, because an item can't be placed into the cart without first analyzing how I might use it in my classroom. Impulsively I stock up on school supplies, adding random items here and there. Shopping the sales, exchanging items if a better price is found, clipping coupons, the chore to reduce my overall school budget is a constant challenge.
August flew by. Why is always that it feels so much shorter than February? The days just slipped into hazy memories of sun soaked skin, the crisp tang of cold pinot grigo, balmy nights in the backyard, and the scent of barbeque wafting in the air. Around mid-month the dreams began. It's no coincidence that they started as soon as emails regarding the upcoming year infiltrated my inbox. Preparation and planning is no longer restricted to daytime hours. Ideas and solutions reveal themselves unconsciously. I awake feeling excited and far from rested. Every minute that Emeline is asleep or away from me I find myself focused on school. By last week the dreams no longer resemble productivity. Rather, they became full blown nightmares. Irrationally, ridiculous visions startled me awake every night for the past 8 nights. Josh reminds me that I am like this at the start of every school year. My anticipation for the upcoming year is always so great that all the hopes, worries, and fears I have seep into my unconscious mind every night. It might not be "normal" but at least I am consistent.
I am not sure I completely agree. This year it seems different. Everything is magnified. I am so excited about returning I am practically jumping out my skin. Every minute spent setting up my classroom, collaborating with teammates, researching best practices, preparing letters, signs, and labels has been absolutely joyous. I’ve always loved my job and look forward to starting a new year, but this year I am happy in a way that I've never been before.
I am returning to a place where I am well-known by staff, parents, and students. To some degree, most people are cognoscenti of my vision loss and the events that surrounded Emeline's birth. Being comfortable talking about my experiences and my vision I am okay with this. I look forward to educating my students (and their families) about vision impairments, but I can't help feeling as if I have something to prove. I am not the same person I was 15 months ago, nor am I I the same teacher. How could I be? Most days I am quite content with the person I have become. The trouble I am having is that I don't know what kind of teacher I am now.
Perhaps, my dear husband will turn out to be correct; this is a year like any other. We'll just have to wait and see.