The stores are starting to display their back-to-school wares, and I’m starting to feel a bit nostalgic. Don’t get me wrong -- there are plenty of aspects of teaching that I don’t miss (writing report cards and attending staff meetings). But, there are plenty of things I do miss (mainly the kids and the connections we shared).
I rummaged through the bins at Target, fingering the Happy Birthday certificates, and acknowledging that I would never need to purchase another pack of birthday certificates again. And that’s not all.
Here, I share fifty “never again” moments:
1. Never again will I greet a class with “Morning loves,” before leading them to our classroom door.
2. Never again will I conduct parent/teacher conferences, attempting to condense the positive remarks, the areas of improvement, and the concerns into a fifteen-minute conversation.
3. Never again will I roll up our flag, lock up the closets, and turn in my classroom key before summer vacation.
4. Never again will I return to a dark, musty classroom and begin unpacking closets and cleaning desks.
5. Never again will I write the page number within a heart on our whiteboard.
6. Never again will I host a multicultural Thanksgiving potluck feast.
7. Never again will I spend Friday afternoons grading weekly quizzes (spelling, vocabulary, states and capitals).
8. Never again will I travel to different office supply stores searching for the best deals on crayons, glue, rulers, notebook paper, and spiral notebooks.
9. Never again will I teach a room-full of children the lyrics to our national anthem.
10. Never again will I need to report suspected cases of child abuse.
11. Never again will I say “I love you” to children I am not related to.
12. Never again will I demonstrate the proper way to “drop/cover/hold” and go through all the possible scenarios if an earthquake should occur.
13. Never again will I hang bulletin board paper.
14. Never again will I need to brainstorm gift ideas for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
15. Never again will I need to determine if Lunar New Year will be in January or February.
16. Never again will I have to practice songs for the winter holiday show.
17. Never again will I have to plead for paper towels for our classroom.
18. Never again will I try to find just the right book for each child as a holiday gift.
19. Never again will I need to shop for “brain food” (snacks I would give my students during testing and during those lessons when we all needed a pick-me-up).
20. Never again will I bring my electric grill into a classroom and make quesadillas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
21. Never again will I host a “Back to School Night” complete with snacks for hungry parents who have arrived straight from work.
22. Never again will I go to work in my pajamas in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read-Across-America.
23. Never again will I spend lunch with a table-full of students as a reward for their efforts.
24. Never again will I spend the last few days of school celebrating all the summer birthdays so that each child has received a special birthday acknowledgment.
25. Never again will I need to teach multiple children, multiple times, the difference between a homophone and a homograph.
26. Never again will I go searching for tennis balls to be used as silencers on the bottoms of my students’ chairs.
27. Never again will I go shopping for items to fill our prize box.
28. Never again will I look at a face, now older, and try to remember the name of the child who had once been in my class.
29. Never again will I save paper towel rolls to make time capsules during the first week of the school year.
30. Never again will I paint children’s hands until they look like turkeys.
31. Never again will I read package labels to insure our brain food is nut free.
32. Never again will I be trained in the proper way to administer an EpiPen.
33. Never again will I pause when the fire alarm sounds, wondering if it is in fact a drill or if we will hear an announcement to disregard the alarm and continue with instruction.
34. Never again will I write out Valentine cards for thirty-plus students.
35. Never again will I explain to a room full of children why I don’t allow the word “hate” in our classroom.
36. Never again will I plan a multitude of yearly celebrations: a Halloween party, a winter holiday party, and an end-of-the-year party.
37. Never again will I periodically test a child’s reading speed while reassuring the student that speed isn’t as important as comprehension.
38. Never again will I think of something positive to say for each child as we fill out our Valentine’s Day Compliment Page for each class member.
39. Never again will I brainstorm ways to celebrate the 100th day of school.
40. Never again will I lock our classroom door and huddle with my students on the floor during a lockdown drill.
41. Never again will I have to reassure students that my number one job is to keep them healthy and safe, even if it means stepping into the line of fire.
42. Never again will I create an end-of-the-year collage depicting our year together.
43. Never again will I craft an introductory, “Welcome to our class” letter.
44. Never again will I write an end-of-the-year, goodbye letter.
45. Never again will I help students write letters to the President of the United States in honor of President’s Day.
46. Never again will I end the day with a good-bye hug for my students.
47. Never again will I officiate an in-class election to coincide with society’s mayoral/gubernatorial/presidential election.
48. Never again will I need to take the yearly online child abuse training.
49. Never again will I create a bulletin board display for Hispanic-American Heritage Month.
50. Never again will I be regularly addressed as “Mrs. Kennar.”