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Back to School

    Late August unites us in thoughts of school days — days past and days upcoming.     Cooler evenings with earlier sunsets adjust our biological clocks ever so slightly. Thoughts of school days shared with friends and classmates crowd our memories. It’s time for hair cuts and shopping for new clothes and shoes.     Sadness and fear play their part as vacation days draw to an end and unknowns multiply. Nervous energy has returning...

Ready to see old friends and meet new ones

    Last year kindergartener Lily Mobley told Bay Weekly she was “excited to make new friends” at her new school, South Shore Elementary in Crownsville.     She did.     Now starting first grade, Mobley says she “can’t wait to see her friends from last year and make new ones.”     Starting a new school year doesn’t only mean going back to class: Lily will start new “swim, gymnastics and art...

This is going to be my best college year

    I return to college as a sophomore even more excited than last year, for my high hopes for my first year at Saint Mike’s were exceeded.     Declaring to go to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, propelled me from March to August. Closer to move-in day, however, doubt and fear crept in. Had I made the right decision? I had dreamed of going to school in a major city like New York or Boston. Now I was about to make a nine-hour journey to...

At 63, only 16 credits to go

    Deciding to continue college at age 50 brought me an education beyond ideas and theories. I had to figure out how to be an adult student — plus face the inescapable truth that I, middle-aged in a room of 30-year-olds, had plenty to learn.     I understood quickly that my brain would survive intact. Yet culturally I was outpaced. My teenage college memories did not include shared projects, grades and online methodology. By profession my title was...

I had a lot to learn
 

My first day of teaching! I had confidence in myself, even if this was a third of the way around the world. Gaziantep, Turkey, my Peace Corps site in 1966, is now recognized as a major city and a base for reporters covering the wars in Iraq and Syria. But then it was seen by my fellow volunteers as an outpost in Eastern Turkey, akin to our Wild West in the 1800s.     With this preconception, the first day I stood in front of my sixth-grade class of 45 boys, when jets flew...

[Gulp] … he’s also my teacher

    As my summer wraps up, I am slowly preparing for seventh grade at Severn School. I’m pretty excited for school to start, and I’m not the least bit nervous. But there are a couple of changes this year. First, our middle school is under construction.     Second, Mr. Daniel Keller, my former sixth-grade English teacher, was promoted to head of the middle school. I knew what he was like as a teacher, but what would he be like as the new principal?...

Substitute teachers are always on call

    For the 31st time in his post-retirement second act as a substitute teacher, Billy Keyes will report for duty August 25 at South River High School.     “I’m going in the first day,” says Keyes, who at age 93 is the oldest active substitute teacher in Anne Arundel County, and likely on this planet.     Since retiring in 1983 as a guidance counselor in the District of Columbia Public School System, Keyes has logged untold days...

Boys and Girls Clubs helping “to inspire and enable all young people”

    “B-G-C-A-A, b-g-c-a-a, b-g-c-a-a,” students chanted as they embarked on their operation to spread the word about the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the Westfield Annapolis Mall.     These 50 or so local kids were a small part of Boys and Girls Club of America’s larger movement to raise awareness about the club mission and kick off the Great Futures Campaign for America’s Kids. The after-school organization works “to inspire and...

Books still cast their spell

    Carl Casary came to our school as an older man, somewhere in his 40s, to teach sixth grade. I think he was a World War II veteran. After lunch, he would read Edgar Allan Poe to us: “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado.”     It didn’t matter that some words were beyond us; Mr. Casary’s voice cast a spell. The rowdy boys settled down; we girls...

And it teaches across the curriculum

    “Did you meet any strange creatures on your way to school this morning?”     My dog … Just a squirrel … My bratty kid brother…     “I met a timber wolf when I was far up North, taking a walk alone through a snowed-in forest on the edge of the Arctic where I’d been interviewing Native Canadians on the Little Black River in Manitoba … Someone get the globe so we can find Manitoba …...