Here’s to 180 days of teach­ing, learn­ing

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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.

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