Question: Other than ''I love you,'' what three little words can provoke powerful feelings of elation in some and despair in others?
''Back to school.''
As the mother of two school-aged children, each August I approach the upcoming back-to-school season with mixed emotions. To me, a new school year is a blessing and a curse.
From a mom's perspective, I'm ready for my kids to go back to school so they will stop complaining about how bored they are and start coming home each day to tell me about all the amazing things they've learned. On the other hand, I really love everything about summertime and am so sad when it ends.
I also realize that as each school year passes my children are one step closer to growing up and leaving me some day, and this also saddens me. As a substitute teacher, I am looking forward to a new year of working with great teachers and students throughout Trumbull County.
Seeing the looks on my students' faces when they walk in and see that there's a sub in class that day is always entertaining.
My two children also have mixed emotions about going back to school. My daughter is excited about cheerleading, marching band, seeing her friends again and wearing her new clothes when school restarts next week. To the extreme opposite, when the word ''school'' is mentioned to my son in any context he groans and plugs his ears at the thought of homework and waking up at 6:45 every morning (I'm not very thrilled about that part, either).
I'm also not looking forward to the impending homework battles that school brings. I turn into the homework tyrant each day when my kids get home, strongly encouraging them to get it finished before they do anything else. My position is that if they do it as soon as they arrive and get a snack, they can then move on with the rest of the day and not have to worry about it any more. My son often resists, preferring to come home and decompress for a while, doing as little as possible until I start bugging him about it.
I've always admired teachers. Teaching is one of the most important careers there is, but the level of hard work and commitment required to be a great teacher isn't for the faint of heart and sometimes goes underappreciated.
I have a sister-in-law who has been a high school biology and math teacher for many years. She relishes summer vacations as a much-needed break from her loaded school-year schedule of parent conferences, paper grading, homecoming and prom advising and so much more. Between the months of June and August, she spends as much time as possible relaxing on the beaches of North Carolina, usually with her feet in the sand reading a good book.
But when the school year starts, she shifts back to all business and gives 110 percent of her time and energy to her job. I've always admired her passion for teaching and dedication to her students, parents and fellow faculty members.
My father taught the vocational machine trades class at Harding High School for almost 25 years and was equally passionate and dedicated to his students and colleagues. He has influenced countless lives with his kind and reassuring manner of teaching, and is sometimes approached by a former student who will thank him for his positive influence and strong leadership.
As this will just be my second school year as a substitute, I aspire to some day influence my students as positively and poignantly as have the teachers in my own life.
Whether you love it or hate it, school is something we all have to deal with as students, parents, consumers and sometimes voters. Make sure you tell your teachers how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. Have a great school year, everyone.
Weatherman is a Trumbull County resident and Tribune Chronicle community columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org