I see where school supplies are showing up in the stores now. Kind of cruel, you know? For both the teachers and the students. The reason these lists show up so early is that you will need money from your next two paychecks to pay for all the stuff. The routine is, as usual, a crazy looking list a mile long that makes you question the intelligence of the people teaching your kids. But it’s all routine and you are conditioned to accept it, obey the command of the list and hand out the cash for the goods. There is another routine you need to be aware of. The one your child faces every year. Ask yourself, what happens during the school year like clockwork? My kid feels like he or she is going back to a happy place or to the torturous dungeons again. Late homework or on-time homework. Feeling dumb from consistent struggle and more wrong than right answers, or enjoying the challenges of figuring things out and seeing different perspectives. Getting help every day at home from parents and relatives to encourage them to feel more confident or getting little to no help from parents and relatives because of many reasons of their own. Realize there are 9 months of being in a place by force for at least 7 hour’s each day, 5 days a week. I always measured the end of my school day as a teacher by happiness and sadness. For example Monday might have been a 70% happy and 30% sad day. As a teacher, I paid strong attention to the happiness of my students and of myself during the day. Teaching and learning are done best in a state of happiness and safety. The more I planned for a higher ratio of happiness the better off we all were. I usually planned for the kids to learn in a happy state so then I would be happy as well. On some days when most of the kids wanted to stay in an ” I don’t care” mood, that’s when I focused on making certain I would be happy even if they did not want that for themselves. I would always try to be more than fair because I am obsessed with making life happy, so the kids were given more chances by me than anyone else. I prided myself on that. I would tell my kids we are a team and that I will give them lots of chances to switch mood gears; so many chances that if some negatives had to come they would know without a doubt they had it coming. Some of the chances I gave my kids was in the form of realizing that the weather, holiday seasons, sickness, family home problems and being bullied was affecting their mood strongly. So I would shorten a lesson or change the lesson list around or the style of the lesson. Not all teachers can do all of what I did because they had many more students or because their emotional makeup was different from mine. So, parents, please understand the teachers are “just like you”. They also can wake up tired, angry, moody for any reason, and maybe think more of their own comfort than your children’s comfort. They can also wake up happy, smiling, looking forward to teaching your child in a fun way. But you won’t know any of this nor anything else that goes on in the school building if you don’t talk to your child and check that bookbag and help with the homework–ridiculous as homework is these days–and ask how they are feeling about everything and anyone they see “on a daily basis”. Be aware and present in your child’s life during the school year because that environment is where fear and bravery are built, where the concept of feeling smart or dumb is built, where trust or distrust in adults is also built, where hope or despair is built, where ‘trying’ or ‘giving in and giving up’ are built. Never think you can blame a bad teacher nor the school system when you don’t keep track on your own for the welfare of your child.