Tag Archives: first day of school

Doing the best I can for now

This has been a week of staying close to home. I’m not much in the mood to be out in public, rather making comfort food at home–bean soup, carnitas, green chile enchiladas, cinnamon rolls–and enjoying my house and yard.

I drove across town on Monday for the first day of school. The principal had said it would be nice to have another adult on campus. The kids were glad to see me. I handed out star erasers, pencils, stickers, and lots of hugs. Two downtown district administrators were on campus for the first couple of hours. They, like me, adding more adult supervision to the early-morning chaos of first day. After watching me greet and talk with many of the kids and parents, one of these administrators asked how long I had been at Columbia.

“I’m starting my fourth year.”

“I can see you’ve built a lot of relationships. Do you go to other schools?”

“No, just Columbia. Each chaplain is assigned to one school.”

“You should be at more schools. It would help the kids.”

“This is a volunteer position. I’m making an impact here. It’s the best I can do for now.”


Yesterday’s Ladies Who Lunch date turned out to be a surprise birthday party for me. Although my birthday was weeks ago, this was our August lunch, as well as our first-day-of-school celebration. Lots of good stuff to celebrate, the best being good friends with whom to enjoy life.


This card sure sums it up nicely:


Class of 2027

Our small granddaughter marched off to Kindergarten this morning.  She is attending a year-round school and it begins now. She will have three weeks off in October, at Christmas/New Year’s, and again in April. Her school year will end late in June. This schedule works perfectly for her mother whose busy times are in the summer and around the Christmas holidays. They will be able to take a family vacation in October and probably right after Christmas. The kids will be able to come stay with us at times that aren’t so blasted hot.

Speaking of weather, we had a thunder storm here overnight with some rain so it’s muggy and hot. Almost 100 degrees at lunch time. However, our kids live in a much cooler clime so Leeya went off to school this morning wearing a jacket.

When Jennifer posted Leeya’s first day of school picture, she pointed out that Leeya is the class of 2027. I will be 74 when that day comes.  More motivation to keep healthy.

Too much talking (or writing)

At the beginning of each new school year, I would give my students a journal in which to write during the next two years. We didn’t do a lot of journal entries, but I liked to take a survey of how they were feeling about certain events or projects without having a whole class discussion. With the journals, they wrote during class and I would read them afterwards. And, because they knew I was the only one to see these entries, I learned some interesting things about my students.

The journals were always handed out the second day of school and the first question to which I wanted a response was: How did the first day of school go for you? Almost every student, every year, would write that the teachers talked too much, they got tired of listening, they shut down and quit listening. This was due to the fact that the teachers were required to give out their rules and syllabus on the first day. I don’t know WHY that was a requirement, but it was. Being the rebel, I quit doing it after reading my students’ responses.

So, what did I do on the first day of class? I introduced myself. I told a little about the class and what we would be doing. Then I let them talk for the rest of the period. They had been away from school all summer. They wanted to talk to their friends. However, while they talked, I watched and listened. A few would engage me in conversation. They had questions about what was going on at school or how to do certain things like sign up for a sport. The next day, after they wrote in their journals, we would do a few of the record keeping tasks like hand out permission slips for all those field trips we would be taking. I would introduce marketing and talk about customer service. The third day, more paperwork, more rules. But, each day, I didn’t talk the whole period. No one wants to listen to someone talk at them for an hour.

The program in which I taught had a separate graduation ceremony for the seniors. If you have been with me on this blog for a few years, you may remember some of those events. We had a student speaker, a faculty speaker, and a member of the community speak. I had a rule for speeches: five minutes ONLY. I would tell the speakers that no one wanted to listen to them talk for more than five minutes. The students and their families appreciated this and would often complain about the BIG graduation for the whole school where the speakers talked FOREVER. Sometimes the kids would say, “Mrs. Zody, you should be in charge of graduation.” Uh, no thanks.

The other day I saw this infographic on Twitter and I had to laugh. It visually shows what I’ve been saying all these years:


The first day of school and its surrounding days

It’s the third day of school-already! It’s been so busy around here that I’m just getting a chance to sit and think about the past five days. My tasks this morning were cleaning the greenhouse pad and all the glass in the house.

The small grandchildren were here from Friday to yesterday and things were a bit of a mess. The weather has been so hot (broke a record on Monday with 110) so we played outside in the water, which was turned into mud:



We also ate cooling popsicles: IMG_4385



And when it was too hot to play outside, we camped inside:





On Saturday we made the trek up the hill to the other grandparents’ house, as they live in a large development that has a swimming pool, where the kids could cool off. These kids live where the high temperature for the day is 68 degrees. Our 108, 109, 110, days were beginning to wear thin.


On Sunday, while Judah ran around playing with his new garbage truck, Leeya did art work:



Then, on Monday, the first day of school  here, my retired friends, The Ladies Who Lunch, made our yearly No-School-for-us trip. We stayed close to home this year since I didn’t want to be gone all day, leaving Terry with the grandchildren. Because I have been volunteering as a tour guide at Kearney Mansion, I asked if I could do a behind-the-scenes tour for my friends and permission was granted. The mansion was opened (and air-conditioned) just for us. Afterwards we had lunch at a 50-year old drive-in, eating typical diner food.

Later that afternoon, as the mercury went skyward, our daughter and son-in-law arrived from the bay area. Monday was not only the first day of school but also a record-setting day for heat at 110 degrees. I don’t think I can ever remember the first day of school being so hot. With no air conditioning in their car, they had melted by the time they got here. We went to dinner at a fairly new vegan restaurant in town where we were served these lovely hibiscus/ginger drinks to help cool us off:



The restaurant, Organic Fresno, closes at 6 p.m. so we had an early dinner and got home in time for a lightening and thunder shower. We all danced in the cooling rain, out on the driveway, until darkness settled in and it was time for bed. It was still over 104 degrees, though.

Time–it never stops for any of us

Flip the calendar and it’s a new month-AUGUST. The end of summer.

The days have gotten shorter–41 minutes to be exact from the longest. It’s now dark at 6 a.m. and I turned on a lamp at 7:30 last evening.

The leaves on our trees are lightening, no longer that dark green of summer, but getting ready to turn yellow and gold for fall.

School starts in three weeks. The administrators go back next week, the teachers the following, and then on August 19, the kids arrive.

It’s been, as is usual, a fast summer. I wish I could hang on to it for awhile longer. Maybe we’ll have warm weather into November as is often the case around here, especially after the hot summer we’ve had. But even if it stays warm, the light leaves us. The days will grow shorter, dark ’till later in the morning and earlier in the evening.

I have noted another year of living. I’m not fighting this birthday as I was last year. This past year has been one of the best of my entire life, all 61 years, so I’m hoping for the same thing this next year. There are no big plans, just living one day at a time, flipping one page of the calendar each month. Accepting each season as it rolls around.

On Tuesday I took three elderly friends to a nearby town to visit another elderly friend who recently moved there. We had thrown her a huge party before she left town with the idea that once she was settled into her new home we would all visit and take a scrapbook with photos of her life and of the party. So, that’s what we did. I, being the youngest at 60, drove. The others are ages 73 to 85. These wonderful ladies make me realize I have a whole lot of living to do.

The first day of school was two weeks ago

Although the schools around here have been in session for going on three weeks, I have just realized I neglected to tell you about the first day of school, or non school for us retirees. Three of us took off for a trip to a small valley town–Reedley–on that day when the students and teachers were required to return to their places in the classroom. 

The trip down the highway, and across the valley floor, took us past orchards of peaches and vineyards of grapes. We saw pickers in the fields and harvesting equipment on the roads. The dusky smell of harvest was in the air, the smell of dirt and fermenting fruit.

My friends and I checked out a few of the stores in town. We especially liked this sign that we found in one place:

It seemed to sum up our feeling for our lives right now.

Reflecting on this day away, with blackberry pie for lunch, the joy of the first day of non-school still lingers.

It’s that time of the year

And I’m not participating. I’m talking about back-to-school. Today is actually the first day of school for a neighboring school district just a few blocks to the west of me. The large urban school district for whom I taught all those years returns in another week and a half as does the state college here in town. Teachers every where are heading back to their offices and classrooms to prepare for the net onslaught.

Yesterday I had lunch with a young teacher whose friendship I made through her blog.  We learned, over the years, that we had much in common. She had another life before becoming a teacher, similar to me; she is a fairly new teacher, just up the highway a piece, and somehow we discovered that she and my son-in-law had grown up together.  She likes to write, and she likes to use technology in her classroom. Although young enough to be my daughter, we had a good time chatting about teaching, students, hair, and all the other stuff that makes up a life. She returns to school tomorrow. I hope she has a great year. She deserves it.

As do so many of my teacher friends who are working so hard to make this teaching thing  a success for their students. They have started to prepare for those students even while the summer heat lingers and the days are still long. My old teaching buddy is coming by on Friday to get a brief lesson on PhotoShop as she will this year teach one period of multimedia, a class I taught the last two years of my career. It’s all about photography, document layout, web design, and video. Lots of equipment involved. More software than I care to remember. Juggling so many projects, students, and flash drives!

My last day in the multimedia classroom.


We’re almost ready for the first day of school.  The bungalows for the freshmen are nearly ready and the ninth grade teachers are moving in today and tomorrow.  Our principal is opening the school on Saturday and Sunday and the janitorial staff will be working.  Because we are having temperatures of 105, the air conditioning will be turned on.

As of this morning

As of this morning



Here are some before and after pictures of this frosh area:


Old configuration

Old configuration











New configuration

New configuration