by Lisa Tome
Susan Huff has been teaching for eight years and she still gets nervous about the first day of school.
"I get nervous. Every year is different. I am excited about our new principal and my new teammates," said Huff, who teaches second grade at Holly Hall Elementary.
Although she wasn't required to be in the school until this week. Huff was working in her classroom last week.
She was anxious to get her classroom organized and decorated. She arrived at the school, arms overloaded with storage bins, wrapping paper for bulletin boards, stickers, and more.
"Each year is a fresh start. I feel overwhelmed. It's a lot to do," she said.
Before the internet, teachers used books to plan classroom designs. Now, Huff said she turns to online site Pinterest. "On Pinterest, I get ideas for everything - lessons, ways to get their (class) attention, bulletin boards. They have everything you need," she said.
Huff was also putting together the classroom library. She had bought bins for books. As of last week, Huff said she had spent about $100 on classroom materials. "The school has done a great job with supplying us with pencils and glue. I used to spend a lot. Now, I'll probably spend about $150 total because I already have stuff," she said.
She is also personally gearing up for the first day. She has planned her outfit and will pack her lunch the night before school starts.
While Huff was getting her room ready at Holly Hall, art teacher Michele Hawkins was getting her room in shape at Bay View Elementary.
Back to school room readiness is a family tradition for Hawkins, who is starting her tenth year teaching. Each year, her niece and nephew, Trent and Gabrielle Hawkins of Elkton, help her set up the room. "I like to get it done ahead of time. That's one less thing to do next week when I will be thinking about my lessons and the kids coming," said Hawkins.
Hawkins spent part of her summer vacation learning. She took a master's class at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. "That refreshed me," she said of being a student.
Hawkins also spent the summer months working on her "art chair". Each year, she designs a unique chair which is raffled off to students at the end of the school year. The proceeds from the raffle buy art supplies. This year's chair has either a royal or Baltimore Ravens theme depending on your interpretation. It features deep purple fabric, opalescent paint, and brass tacks.
After her busy summer, Hawkins is in back to school mode.
"There's still that butterfly feeling and you can't get to sleep the night before school," she said. She also plans her clothes well in advance. Most of the school year, she can't wear nice things because she is teaching art She said she enjoys dressing up early in the school year.
"It's still exciting after 10 years. I'm am so excited to see the kids. Some of them have a three-inch summer and they come back and are super tall. And then the kindergarten starts and they are so small," Hawkins added.