“I'm not ready for school to start."
The parent of a teenager has never uttered those words.
Perhaps when they were younger, I may have missed the arts and crafts, play dates and day trips to local attractions.
Now? With teenagers? I started salivating about Aug. 20 on June 15.
Of course, there are people dreading the return of the education grind: the 6 a.m. alarm; dragging children out of bed by their toes; yellow buses clogging roads and extending commute times.
It's not pretty, folks — and sometimes it grows even more difficult for teachers.
Whether it's third grade or 11th, I don't know how they do it. There is no "easy" grade to teach. They all bring their own difficulties, just in different degrees.
I know there are some teachers who maybe should have chosen a different profession. But in reality, there are many who enjoy it and try to do their best.
As parents, we just don't like to hear what an outsider has to say. It's easier to believe that we've done everything correctly than accepting that some of our earlier parenting decisions have brought on unintended consequences.
None of us are perfect.
Instead of requesting a new teacher, we should listen. Leave room for the possibility that the teacher has valid points and that we have some reasonable adjustments to make at home.
I'm not sure that alerting your child you will move him/her to a new teacher at the first sign of friction is a good lesson. Children learn very early on how to manipulate adults. And we, as parents, are more susceptible to their maneuvers than we realize.
Go into this year with an open mind. Leave pride and ego at home and take what the teacher has to say as constructive criticism. They aren't implying you have done everything wrong. They love children, or they wouldn't be able to do this job. They see trends and want to help you make corrections before things get out of hand.
And like it or not, the child you get at home, certainly is not the child the teacher always gets at school. You don't have 23 other children in the living room daring him or her to take little Suzie's pencil. It's a whole different ball game inside those four walls.
Sometimes it's an improvement over what you get. Sometimes they feel one teacher can't possibly see everything going on in the classroom and discover their mischievous side.
I've had my fair share of calls from teachers and principals, in elementary, middle and high school. They know me by my first name. When I knew it was them calling, I would answer, "Who do I have to punish?" and I would chuckle. It lightened the mood. They dread those phone calls and I understand why.
I will tell you most of the time, my kids were at fault. On some occasions, I had to go to bat for my kids and disagree with the school. I won every time, likely because I was kind, patient and gave them the benefit of the doubt.
So I will feel compassion for the teachers answering the early alarms, as well as my kids who will cry at the 6 a.m. wakeup call.
But I am ready for Tuesday.
I'm so over going home for lunch and finding condensation on the windows because someone put the air on 72 degrees.
By the end of the day, it looks like 37 people moved in and dumped their personal belongings all over the floor in almost every room.
And my grocery bill? It triples over the summer. I always joke I'm going to feed them each a tapeworm to decrease their appetite. What used to be two weeks' worth of groceries suddenly only lasts five days.
I'm ready to welcome back a clean house, lower electric bill and food in the fridge.
Heather Tempesta is a Brandon mother of two sons, 17 and 10, and a daughter, 15.