Here’s to 180 days of teaching, learning
Teachers throughout Charles County were busy prepping their classrooms this week, school buses have been inspected and drivers have been practicing their routes — all in anticipation of this coming Monday, Aug. 29, the first day of school for the county’s 26,000 public school students. Most of the county’s private schools will also start next week.
There have been a handful of changes to some schools since classes let out for the summer back in June. Many of the schools are welcoming new principals and vice principals, and schools continue to be fitted with new technology geared toward improving the ability of all students to learn while in school.
Many students will enter school for the first time, in kindergarten and prekindergarten. And by the end of next week, all students, from the youngest to the oldest, will have discovered if they share a classroom with friends.
All of them, from age 4 to 18, will learn about the expectations of their teachers this year. Those teachers are setting a tone they hope will last through the school year. They are getting to know their students — and also getting to know what their students know. Depending on the age of those students, that may mean finding out if they know how to tie their shoes or if they are ready to dive into honors chemistry.
So it’s a time for fresh starts, and for teachers and staff to rediscover, as they do each year, why they remain in this profession, this vocation, this calling they have chosen. All of these talented and caring people are engaged in enormously important work that shapes the lives of young people.
Indeed, lives will change over the next 180 school days between now and next spring. Eyes will be opened, social skills developed, content learned; steps to independence and maturity they will need in their adult lives will be mastered. In short, students will be getting an education.
What happens in these schools, both public and private, will also plant seeds for much of what will happen in Charles County after they graduate and begin to contribute to and influence the life of this community.
Charles’ schools include an unusual, eclectic mix of students. There are the relative newcomers whose parents are here because of work associated with neighboring Naval Support Facility Indian Head or Joint Base Andrews, or other professional opportunities. Others with deeper roots in the county are boarding buses whose drivers once ferried their mothers or fathers to the same school.
All of them are now gathered in the schools, and their influence starts now. They will be contributing, most of them positively, to the work and growth that will take place in classrooms in the months ahead.
So students, let’s open those books. There may very well be homework on Monday, and that’s a good thing.