“We’re all in our places
With bright, shining faces.”
And so a new school year begins. If you want to know where I have been and what has happened to my travelogue, my writing, and my enthusiasm for television and movies, look no farther than the elementary school where I now share responsibility for the health, happiness and education of 800+ students. Whew! That is a daunting thought!
Have you ever been in an empty elementary school right before the students return? It exists in a palpable state of held breath, anticipation pervasive in the walls and the furnishings and the very air whose sole purpose is the nurturing of eager little minds. The classrooms are filled with colorful tools of learning–alphabet strips in print and cursive, bulletin boards for social studies, science and reading, name tags on desks that let each child know he or she is an important part of the group and right where he or she belongs.
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it…
Blam! Whoosh! Boom! They come crashing in, hundreds of pulsing spheres of energy blasting through the hallways. The whole place explodes into life. It draws a deep breath, and its heart is beating once again.
Children are the foundation of our society, and there is absolutely no more important task than preparing them for a rich, rewarding life. Even I, a media center paraprofessional in the lowest position of the educational hierarchy, have an essential role to fulfill. Libraries are the keepers of the cultural values and mores of our society, transmitted to eager young minds through the tales of heroes and villains as they have been since the early days of the oral tradition. We are the repository of all the science and philosophy and knowledge accumulated since the dawn of human awareness. The students must have access to the entirety of this information if they are to build on it and not be forced to waste time repeating its acquisition. We are a valuable part of the team, supporting all the educators as best we can to give them the tools of their trade.
Yea teachers! Yea administrators! Yea custodians and cafeteria workers! Yea to us all! We love you, children, and we hold your precious futures in willing hearts and gentle hands.