It’s that time of year when kids (and sometimes their parents) head back to the classroom, and this transition can come with mixed feelings. Sometimes it is a time of sadness that the slow, lazy days of summer have to end. For others, this time is exciting with new faces, classes, and clubs to add a kick to the days. Of course, Literary Mama contributors have been writing about this time of year for the past two decades, and we’re delighted to share some of them with you.
Catching the School Bus | Poetry September 2016 | Lois Levinson
One by one they shoot out of the house,
projectiles launched at one-minute intervals,
four tow-headed boys in stairstep sizes,
brothers burning the half-block race to the bus stop.
You can feel the bass rumble
before the bus appears,
hear its asthmatic wheeze
as it struggles up the hill, anticipate
the metallic complaint of its brakes,
its voiceprint unchanged
in the twenty years since
you were the boy running for that bus.
The Muse Gets Angry Before Leaving for School | Poetry September 2009 | Ona Gritz
I’m ruining my son’s life by making him wear a jacket.
“I’ll be hot all day,” he yells, tugging the collar,
“It’s too tight anyway.” Slamming the door.
He’s outgrowing everything. Jackets, pants,
my directives on what to wear. Another mother
would take this afternoon, shop for clothes
two sizes up.
First Day of School | Mothering in the Ivory Tower December 2003 | Amy Hudock
I walked down brick pathways to teach my first university class in over two years. I kept my eyes down, looking at each brick as I pass over it, trying to keep from crying. Their deep earth color reminded me of the blood that came with my daughter’s birth, and it honored a new separation: returning to an academic career after being with my daughter full-time since her birth. I bled fresh tears, my face frozen with the effort to stop.
I stood outside the classroom, the sun not yet fully up, and breathed the already hot and humid air. Putting my game face on. Teaching is, ultimately, a performance, and through the years, I have learned to mask my personal emotions to allow the play to start, the game to begin. But this was something different, something harder, deeper. I closed my eyes to focus on that quiet place within, finding the meditative peace I discovered while sitting for long hours nursing my daughter, Sarah. I feared the expectations.
What if My American-born Son Asked Me What Elementary School Was Like? | Poetry Sep/Oct 2020 | Kuo Zhang
One day I just forgot it, the red scarf
we wore every day. I believed
it was a piece of the national flag,
dyed by the martyrs’ blood.
I begged my mom to buy a new one
at the school gate, otherwise I’d be
caught by the Students on Duty
who wore red armbands.
They seized the ones who talked
or ran in the hallway, who failed
to make a right angle turn
at the landing on the stairs.