Last day before classes start - - Jackson, MS

Last day before classes start

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The beginning of classes used to mark the psychological end of summer. But with it still nearly a hundred degrees outside, it's obvious that's not the case. But with school bells ringing tomorrow, this day marks the passing of the freedom of summer and the beginning of the grind of the classroom for students. But for teachers, it's another story. That three-month vacation they get every summer is mostly a myth.  

For Carrie Ann DeGruiter, human A&P teacher at Northwest Rankin, getting ready for this year started at the end of last year. 

"I don't think you stop preparing. Your mind is always working even through the summer thinking how you can redo lesson plans that maybe last year didn't go the way you wanted them to," said DeGruiter. "So you're…I don't know that you ever stop planning. It's always a work in progress." 

As far as actual classroom work, the teachers usually report back about a week before the students. A good part of that week at Northwest is spent in line waiting your turn at one of the two copy machines to run off reams of documents and handouts and worksheets and assignment sheets, which, by the way, didn't create themselves out of thin air, and attending endless meetings that attempt to get everybody on the same page.  

"It has been very busy. Very little free time, Of course any free time you have you are in your classroom cleaning, getting your desks moved back where you want them," said DeGruiter.  

Meanwhile, students are hustling getting the proper lists of required supplies and bewildered parents are wondering why we put this off until the last day again this year. And teachers are putting the finishing touches on their plans so that by tomorrow it will look like teaching is so easy when their students arrive. 

"I really think they think we just show up and it's all magic. You just show up and, up! You're teaching them new stuff!" 

Well, this is about as quiet as these halls will be for another nine months now. Tomorrow morning they will be filled with befuddled students and excited teachers, both of them reacquainting themselves with their love for Fridays and holidays.

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