They’re Back!!!

It had been a long, quiet, restful 20 days. The Christmas break that seemed to resemble the finish line of an ultra-marathon, a lifetime away as teachers struggled to stay mentally hydrated for the home stretch. On Friday, December 16 at 2:50 PM, the herd stampeded out of the building, leaving their trash for the surviving staff members to deal with.

And this past Thursday, they returned. The hallways went from resembling a hospital’s quiet hours to a crowded airport corridor the Friday before Christmas. Students, who hadn’t seen each other, hugged and chattered. Conversations could be heard about where they had gone on Christmas vacations, what new device or video game was discovered to be wrapped up and waiting to be opened, the extreme-cold weather, new clothes, and new haircuts.

The new school policy about no cell phones was not being talked about. One teacher, observing the hallway events told me, “They were actually walking down the hallway with their heads up and talking to one another.” We had prepared for Cell Phone Armageddon, but it didn’t happen…yet! Our administration had planned far enough ahead so that parents knew, students had had time to whine and state the injustice of it, and the staff had a good understanding of what they should do in unique situations.

I’m buying a bag of cotton swabs this weekend for those students who are missing their AirPods so much they feel like they didn’t finish dressing, Like a Nicotine patch for someone trying to kick the smoking habit, I’ll offer cotton swabs that they can stick in their ears.

Adolescents are flexible. Most of them have a unique ability to adjust. They may moan, groan, and be dragged kicking and screaming, but they will adjust. Perhaps a three-week break helped in the saying goodbye to what and saying hello to what is. Oh, there were a few curmudgeons in thirteen-year-old bodies, whose mission in life at this point is to bring misery and suffering to those who have stood firm in expecting them to follow the rules. Those warts will stand out even more as the rest of the school year goes on, and not just to the teachers but also to their classmates.

However, the vast majority were glad to be back, ready to explore the new lands of educational adventure, and were at that point where boredom was starting to ooze into their daily wanderings.

And now the staff has laced up their Puma and New Balance instructional shoes, and have launched into the next ultra-marathon. This is the ultimate test. January, February, March, three months of cold, during which we will pray for a couple of snow days to be blessed with and a few timely two-hour delays.

Breathe in, breathe out. Don’t slack off. You’ve got to run the next leg of the journey tomorrow. Oh, and don’t forget to grade those papers!

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