While students in private schools have already started classes, public school students will be back in their respective schools Tuesday, a day after the federal holiday Labor Day (Sep.5).
A week or two ago, teachers reported to their schools, having meetings and working in their classrooms, making sure their classrooms are ready and conducive to teaching and learning.
Though it's still summer, I wonder if students are eager to go back to school. I imagine some of them are ready, while others wish their summer vacation were extended. Ready or not, though, Tuesday's back-to-school is the reality.
Both students and teachers have that mixture of feelings of anticipation and uncertainty. Especially for new students and teachers, there will be adjustments to a new environment.
Just as the returning students and teachers, new ones deal with many challenges and changes as they try to fit in with and get along with everybody in the school system. There are lots of things to learn from one another during the new school year.
New teachers, much like their senior counterparts, want to excel in their teaching, are eager to start the school year with energy and enthusiasm and are ready to apply what they have learned and observed during their student-teaching (or practice teaching) assignments.
But as newcomers in the educational field, they need the full support of school staff and personnel so they won't feel alone and helpless when problems arise in their classrooms.
Teacher mentoring is important and crucial to the success of new teachers. With mentoring, new teachers feel at ease and at home and have a sense of worth as an important member of the educational community. They know they can count on veteran teachers for moral guidance and support.
Moreover, teacher mentors and mentees can learn from one another, and their collaboration and cooperation can benefit students. Mentors and mentees work together to deal with classroom management issues and to solve problems that may arise in the classroom, things like truant student, students lagging behind, and students with issues concerning peers and family.
For returning students and teachers, I'd like to commend you for your desire to learn and to teach. I know you are goal-oriented and success-driven, like the new students and teachers. Focused and optimistic, you try your best to be the best role models for others in your school and the community.
Kudos to our students who are going back to school, to all of you in our community who tirelessly work for the success of our students. Thank you to Freny, my wife, who is a chemistry teacher; to daughter Christine, who just became a school counselor; and to son Andrew, an IT instructor (and theatre or stage actor).
They are dedicated to helping students succeed.
And kudos to the parents, volunteers and community leaders who are advocates of education. May you all have a rewarding school year.
-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Appeared in the Opinion Page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Wednesday, August 31, 2016. For more information, visit www.suffolknewshearld.com.