About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back-to-School Jitters

   It seems that I’m destined to continue experiencing the “beginning-of-school- jitters.”  As a kid, the last week (or two) of summer vacation brought about much anxiety for the upcoming school year.  Would my teacher(s) be mean?  Would the subject matter be extremely difficult?  Would I be in classes with friends?  Would I have a ton of homework each night? 

   I was a serious student.  School wasn’t the place I went to for a fun time; school was work.  Hard work.  Each year was a bit of a fresh start, and it was the fear of the unknown that had me worrying and stressing days before the first bell rang.  

   Then I became a teacher and experienced a new set of worries.  Would I be able to handle my students?  Would I know what I was doing?  Would I be a “good” teacher?  Would teaching leave me too exhausted for other things in my life?  As a kindergarten teacher, most of my worries were these rather general ones.  I didn’t know my students, yet.  When I became an upper-grade teacher, the worries increased slightly.  Would I be able to handle such a large class?  Would Jane Doe or John Smith be in my class?  Would I be able to effectively teach the curriculum?  After all, teaching fourth grade math is a lot different than teaching kindergarten math.  And by the time kids reached fourth grade, they had reputations.  I knew which students frequented the principal’s office.  Those were generally not the students you hoped to see on your class roster.

   Now I’m no longer teaching, but the beginning-of-school-jitters continue, on behalf of my son.  In a matter of days, Ryan will be entering the first grade, and the worries have been here for over a week.  Will his teacher praise effort and not just the end product?  Will his teacher encourage and nurture the children in his class?  Will my son have friends?  Will the big kids be kind to the younger kids?

   I’m doing everything I can to keep my own apprehensions away from Ryan.  I will happily take on all the worries if that means he doesn’t experience the sleepless, before-school nights that I did as a kid (and teacher).  I want my son to view school as a special place -- a place rich with ideas and experiments and projects.  I want my son to discover things he’s good at and discover parts of his personality that he hasn’t tapped into yet.  

   As a teacher, I worried about the enormous responsibility I had -- keeping all those children safe and healthy while I was their teacher.  Now, I’m on the other side of the desk, and I worry as I send my son out into the world.  

   For more than twelve years, I experienced back-to-school jitters as a student.

   Then, for twelve years, I experienced back-to-school jitters as a teacher.

   Now, for at least the next twelve years, I will most likely experience the back-to-school jitters as a parent.  

   It doesn’t seem to end.


  1. I seemed to experience the back to school jitters right along with you all those years,but tried not to show it.I had the jitters even when you were a teacher and since Ryan started school last year I have had them for him also.He loves school and I just hope it continues that way.He is a very bright child and way above his age level and I give you all the credit for that.You are a WONDERFUL mommy to him.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. You were a wonderful teacher, and very devoted to your students. You are raising Ryan to be a fine young man. Your mother & I are proud of you.
    Love, dad

  3. Honey,
    You are a wonderful mother to Ryan! I am sure he is going to love his new class and have a great school year. You are so caring and loving to him.
    I Love You!