Look, I’ve been in your worn out shoes with the holes in the big toe area. For most Nashville public school families, the countdown to crazy has reached zero and all heck is just about to break loose (at least that was my experience). I remember so well, two weeks before the start of school I would start preparing the kids (and adults) for the grind—I mean, routine. I would be a wreck! My kids hated me. So did I. The 14 days leading up to the first day of school would be a series of mini-nervous breakdowns and I made sure everyone under the sound of my voice felt my pain. To get an idea of my back-to-school induced insanity, I’ll share with you the adventures from the Hawkins household. Ready?
Uniforms: It seemed both kids grew like 6 inches every summer. I could never find the right color khaki (how many shades of khaki are there?) or the coolest non-striped, tiny-logo polo shirt.
Before and After Care: Why is it so expensive? (The fees rarely changed but somehow I was never prepared.)
Summer Reading: Daily screams throughout the house “did you finish your reading list!” and “Oh really? I want proof right now!”
New Teacher(s): While I’m wreaking havoc at home, I was also stalking the school to get the news about our new teachers. Yes, there was the daily drive-by to see if anything had been posted on the door or if the principal’s car was in the lot (you know, just to say hello).
School Supplies: Man! I was obsessed with getting my hands on that supply list (far worse than the mild preoccupation with finding out the new teacher). I would be on around-the-clock email watch just to get my hands on that list. I love school supplies.
Uniforms: It’s been covered already, I know. But I gotta tell ya, it took the patience of Job to adhere to the myriad of uniform guidelines while trying to make sure the kids (I’m talking middle and high schoolers) felt the clothes were cool enough to walk the school halls. Lots of brawls over this one. I was so over this by the time they reached high school. I had no idea a million more fights awaited me.
Planning for the Routine: The older they became, my children did not go to bed when asked nor did they wake at the appointed time. They didn’t plan their uniforms or clean their rooms in preparation for the new school year. Until…the crazy lady made her annual cameo appearance. This is the point at which my outside voice would become the very loud and sometimes shrill inside voice no matter the location—home, the car, the department store. Yep, the point when my nerves rested on 10 and even the appearance of disrespect got an unreasonable consequence. Crazy.
And all this
before the start of school.
Old Mama’s Wisdom
So take the advice from someone who now has the benefit of learning from hindsight. Planning is a must, but if it’s not your forte (and I clearly had some issues) please start the school year strong by communicating with your teacher. If you do nothing else, let the teacher know your child is loved and supported at home and that you expect the same from school. This communication will mean everything for you, the teacher, and the success of your child. Most importantly, stay calm. It will work out. Have a great school year!
Vesia Wilson-Hawkins is a former Metro Nashville Public Schools student, parent and staffer. She is a staunch advocate for better public school options, particularly for the Black community in her hometown. She doesn’t care if that school is run through a ...