It smells like school…

Chalk dust, freshly cleaned asbestos-tiled floors, paste, and Mrs. Smith’s powdered cheek; the smell of the first day of school.

Today is the first day of the semester at the university and this morning, I mostly just smelled exhaust while sitting in the long line of traffic trying to get onto campus. Once on campus, though, I love the bustle of new students, the stagger of bewildered students looking for classrooms, opportunities to connect with colleagues who have returned from summer travels and research. It brings comfort to this school-loving gal, makes me want to buy school supplies, and keeps me longing for fall and cooler weather.

For teachers, the new semester brings new opportunities to influence and expand minds; to encourage and mentor. It may also be a time for new policies pushed out during the summer months that now must be put into place; policies that require us to deliver certain things, in certain ways. We all know what THAT smells like. If that’s what you’re facing this first day of the semester, let me encourage you to find the meaningpencils behind it, whatever it is, and figure out a way to simplify it. I realize I sound very “Polly-Anna,” but addressing the requirement and applying a simple solution allows you to free up time to do the thing you should be doing – teaching!

So, cheers! to the new semester. May this year be as pleasant-smelling as a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils!

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