School Jitters

One part of my current job is that of a clinician on our Youth and Family Team. School starts here on Thursday, and it seems like many of our young clients are falling apart at the prospect of a new school year.

I remember being unable to sleep in the days before school started, anxious about the excitement and uncertainty. I never had to worry about getting a potentially deadly disease or wearing masks, or worrying if I would be sent home on quarantine. Things are sure different.

The members of my team can’t wait until school starts and thing presumably settle down for our clients. At least we hope they settle down.

What about school starting gave you the jitters when you were a child? What were your most favorite and least favorite years in elementary and middle school?

41 thoughts on “School Jitters”

  1. I cried, probably with terror, and clung to Mum’s hand as long as I could, my very first day. The headmistress lived right there in the yard, and brought a great big black wooly dog to try and make it better. It helped a bit, he was nice, and that’s all I remember about my first term at Georgeham. Except my teacher was called Mrs. Frost. Next term, we’d moved twenty miles to Chittlehampton. I hated that first day too, even though, somehow, my teacher was still Mrs. Frost. She’d moved too, and she was nice. Then she left, and we had Mrs. Benn, who was awful. I hated every first day of every term, and every year. I hated every day at school, and left literally the first minute I could.
    My least favourite year was the school year starting September 1965,when I was fourteen. I thought maybe I could run away from home, except there was nothing wrong with home. I considered all the difficulties I’d face, if I ran away, and slowly learned to cope with school instead.
    One thing I’ve never regretted, is deliberately failing my exams and getting out of there.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And if my son ever thinks he’s going to pull a stunt like that, he’s got another think coming. Different world now, but then he wants to be part of it. He’s apprehensive about starting at “College” though. We will be glad to get him into a more cosmopolitan environment though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    We have a welcome, loud, old-fashioned thunderstorm here that awoke me around 4am and 6:15am. It has rained over a half-inch. Thank goodness. It was so, so dry.

    Kids are really anxious this year as they go back to school. I think the conflict in the larger culture is causing anxiety for the kids while the adults fight about masks and vaccines. Kids are little magnets for emotions and many adults are not functioning that well.

    I think I have told this story before, but here goes. School for me was usually a good thing, but it all started very badly in 1958 with all day kindergarten with 45 students in a classroom when I was just days over 5 years old. Because married women were not allowed to teach, teachers in SW Iowa were in short supply. Apparently they hired our teacher out of desperation because she had a horrible reputation for hating children and hating teaching. This was true. She used dunce caps on the boys and she believed every child should be spanked twice a year (yes, really). She did not like me because my mother, a married woman, returned to teaching third grade down the hall from the Kindergarten room after my dad was disabled by MS and had to stop working. She picked on me, and was cruel to all children.

    She was awful and I developed a school phobia in first grade and second grade out of the entire experience. Later it all smoothed out and I did well in school, overall.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. I was a little perfectionist, I think – early report cards said “Eager to please”, and I just wanted to do everything right. I liked school though, that “edge”, I think, and I did pretty well there, had a string of decent teachers, none that were cruel or grossly incompetent. In fact, I wanted to be a teacher – of whatever grade I was in.

    6th grade was my best year because of Mrs. Latch. She helped me adjust to a new school, plus she taught us some songs with harmony, and read aloud to us The Secret Garden with an Irish brogue. Let us make murals on big paper in the hallway, put the desks in a circle instead of rows – she had complete control of the class, but kindly, and so could relax the rules, I guess.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My early life could not have been better. I was loved and knew it, and I liked myself. Somehow that all blew up in fifth grade. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to understand that, making poor progress. I decided I was a bad person who didn’t deserve respect, and I was especially bothered by the fact that nobody seemed to believe in me except my parents, who HAD to love me.

    I remember riding in the car with my father one afternoon, weeping because I was such a worthless person. I challenged my dad to come up with one good reason for loving me. He reached across the seat and gently tapped my chest with his right hand. He said, “Because you have a good heart.”

    I wasn’t sure what he meant, but the tears stopped.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I loved Grade 6, but was miserable in Grades 4 and 5. I had an awful 4th grade teacher who was unable to stop talking about her deceased husband and a salesman who tried to swindle her in some manner because she was a widow. She took a principal’s job somewhere in northwest Iowa.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. First day of college classes yesterday. Evidently the students are back as the staff lot was full of students cars because NO ONE CAN READ! Security did put flyers on their windows and it will get better.
    One teacher talked about how much administration wants them to pander to the students these days; they were told “The students don’t need you, you need the students”, which he didn’t completely agree with.
    I am taking a class on ‘MN Rocks and Waters’ so thinking about tests makes me anxious.

    I don’t remember too much about middle school; I remember a few teachers but I don’t think it was the best point in my life… high school was fun. I enjoyed high school. I had mostly good teachers in elementary school; just one year I didn’t get along with the teacher. And mom says she didn’t blame me, she didn’t like the teacher either.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Leaving the safe confines of elementary school (which was a block from home) to attend 7th grade was scary. Getting to school was a challenge, as no school busses were used at the time. Public routes only. Scary adults. And the route dropped kids off 3 blocks away. That winter was rough. I always tried to reach the stop first where there was a utility pole to shelter behind. The classes were rough. New Math has just been implemented and looking back I don’t believe the teacher knew how to teach it. Sets. Graphs. All important but I remember no insights beyond reading the textbook. Weeks of learning the Babylonian number system based on 6, was awful. Why we devoted a week learning Roman numerals is beyond me. Chorus was awful. Someone in elementary school must have thought I sang well and put me in that class. I didn’t realize it was an elective and didn’t complain as I could have. Sang second soprano even though I was unable to read musical notation. Mostly I cheated and sang what seemed good to me. I still hate Moon River. I know it’s an American standard but…over and over… and over. And the spit on the platforms from the preceeding band class was deeeegusting!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That last sentence, aggggh! There was a horrible phase of spitting at school at round about age 13 and I could hardly bear to sit in the classrooms, with teachers apparently not noticing what was going on. Disgusting, you’re not kidding, Wessew.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Junior High and High School were a trial for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but my parents were simply too involved with their own stuff to pay me much attention. I was a shy and sensitive kid in an age when those were marks of a loser. I doubted myself, especially after the D in 7th grade Arithmetic. In school I was afraid of two kinds of kid: the boys and the girls. The boys were raucous and aggressive. The girls were unattainable. The only place I felt safe was “in nature.” After a day of school I’d run home, grab my gear and be fishing Squaw Creek two minutes after getting home.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Guess I consider myself lucky that I’ve never had a truly horrible teacher, but husband has. He went to prestigious private school in his hometown of Aalborg, and that particular man taught there for decades. He sounds evil and violent. I’ve met several people who were also students at that school, and they all agree that he was vile and brutal. To this day husband bristles at the mere thought of this man. He hates him.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. PJ I don’t want to sound Pollyannish, but I sure want to believe there are guard rails now that would make it hard for a fundamentally brutish person to become a teacher. I had good and bad teachers, like just about everyone has, but Miss Steele and Miss Bentley were bullies who never should have been allowed to teach. I sure hope people like that are steered away into other professions and not given the chance to act out their personal demons, damaging young souls to make themselves look better.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I don’t know if there are procedures in place to steer them away from the teaching profession, but I’m certain that some of the disciplinary practices that were deemed effective and permissible back then would get them fired if they attempted to use them now. Back when I was a kid, many parents had the attitude that if the teacher hit you, you had done something to deserve it. If you came home and complained about it, you’d likely get at least a lecture and perhaps even additional punishment. Thank god we have evolved on that score.

          Liked by 2 people

        4. The two worst teachers I had would almost surely be caught out by supervision today. If a teacher does really nasty stuff in a classroom, I assume word eventually gets to the principal. And parents are ready to defend kids in a way that wasn’t true decades ago.

          Liked by 3 people

  9. OT: Jane spoke to her brother Justin in England last night. At least he said he was in England. He said he might come over at the weekend, he might not.
    The doorbell rang about twelve today. I went to answer it, and there stood Justin and his son Ben, Isaac’s favourite cousin. I didn’t really grasp what I was seeing, and just stood there, “It can’t be them, they’re in England.” Couldn’t really figure it out for a minute. I finally realised it must be them, and called to Jane that I needed a hand. She got who it was straight away, and burst into tears. We haven’t seen them since back then, you know when. So I’d better be ready to sink some beer tonight, I’m thinking.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’ve been thinking about the start of the school year a lot because my neighbors next-door are both teachers. And they have two youngsters, one in first grade this year and one still in daycare. And it seems clear that everybody’s a little stressed out right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I generally liked school so it’s sad that I can’t actually think up a favorite year. Unfortunately I can easily think up the three least favorite years. Fifth grade when I had Mrs. McCracken and she basically said “you’re doing good work but you could do better.” I hate that. And of course ninth grade was the horrible horrible year in which my folks moved me halfway through the year to a new school system even though we haven’t moved houses yet. Then there was my senior year. I was just ready to be done with high school but even though I had enough credits to graduate early, my mother talked me out of it saying that my senior year would be the best year of my life.Geez, she was so wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I could legally have left at fifteen back then. I didn’t know that my parents had had to sign a contract at my particular school, so I had to leave at sixteen. I fought against it, but lost. A teacher wrote to my parents, saying “What is one year in a lifetime?”. That was a long year.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. My mother began teaching at 19 with a two year certificate from Mankato State, and taught for the next 37 years. She quit after she was disabled with MS. She loved teaching. Grade 3 was her favorite age group.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OT: I never did follow up Renee’s post yesterday, about the slower pace of life in Canada.
    I may have misunderstood, but it seemed to me, that people weren’t knocking themselves out, because they didn’t need to. They had everything they wanted, and could take time to relax.
    So if workers in the US are producing more, presumably they’re producing more than is needed. Who is getting the benefit of them knocking themselves out to do that? The workers themselves? It sure doesn’t look that way.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I took classes about teaching at Minnesota State Moorhead. My goal was teaching Earth Science at the secondary high school level. I made five times more working with my hands installing flooring. Am I better off financially? Maybe.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. In mid 70s a rural school high school was closed. About 65 kids were transferred into a school population of about 700. Most resented it. But now there was stress about the first day of school, was it not?Most teachers tried to help. After two weeks most were settling in. But several, mostly from senior class, never did. They resisted in small and sneaky ways. We provided late bus to bring kids home from activities, sports, and such. At end of October a mother called me up and chewed me out for keeping her daughter after school so often. I did not know the student. She accepted what I said. That her daughter was lying to stay in town and cause trouble. A group of them had been caught shoplifting. The daughter confessed to it to her mother. She did not do it again. A group of her friends were caught trying to burn down a park building.
    About a dozen despite their worries charged in full bore and were quickly integrated and thrived. One sort of adopted me, loved my classes, joined annual staff. I was close to her. About 25 years later she found me on Facebook and attacked with right wing fundy hate for public education and teachers. That was a shock.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I never tell people I was a teacher. Tired of being attacked for it. I guess I just am the evil the right wing and not so much less often the left because yes I did have standards for kids in behavior and learning. Go ahead take your best shot. In effect someone already has.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s a sad story, Clyde. I trust, however, that there are many more students you have influenced in positive ways over the years and who remember you fondly.

      Looking back on my own education, I think it fair to say that teachers who clearly defined their expectations with regard to both behavior and learning are among the teachers I learned most from.

      We are all so different; what motivates one discourages another. What comes easily to one student, is a challenge to another. Our interests and abilities are different. Some kids learn well from a lecture or the written material, others need hands on experience. Some can’t concentrate when sitting still, and others are distracted by noise. A really good teacher knows this and engages their students in ways that appeal to their particular way of learning. But no one, not even the best teacher in the world, is going to have universal success.

      “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.” ― John Lydgate

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I never had my mother as a teacher, although she taught in my school. My classmates tell me how she got a very defiant girl to the principal’s office by pushing the girl’s desk, with the girl sitting in it, down two long hallways to the office. The girl just sat there while my mother pushed the desk.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I make no judgement as to how that could have been handled better, but that kind of situation is surely a teacher’s worst nightmare.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. I think I liked third grade best. Things made sense then. We got to order books from the Scholastic book club, and there wasn’t very much homework. Life was simple in third grade.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.