McGregor Says: Remembering the first day of school

I was walking across the yard on a recent hot afternoon when a ‘dust devil’ swirled across the dry lawn and garden and stirred up some dust and twigs and tugged a couple of almost orange leaves from one of the trees.

It was followed by a gust of cooler wind, carrying a twinge of fall as it scooted across the yard toward the neighbour’s.

I know there is still plenty of hot, dry weather to come but the mini tornado also stirred up some late summer memories from years gone by. It was about this time of year that two or three of us guys would pedal our bikes down to Langley Central School to see if the class lists had been posted on the door.

It was the practice back in those days to display the class lists, teachers, and classrooms so the kids would know where to go on the first day.

You often had to push your way through the crowd of kids — and some parents — who had come to get a preview of who would be in your class and who your teacher would be.

Would you be in the class with that jerk again this year? Would that special ‘she’ or ‘he’ be in your class? Would you have the cranky teacher or the nice teacher? What if they were a new teacher and you didn’t know anything about them?

Sometimes you would ride home buoyed by the news that you had the best teacher and other times you were dejected and it looked like a long year ahead because you had the old grump and ‘that special person’ was in another class.

The most damaging year to my development was the year we were returning to Grade 7.

We would be the ‘Big Kids’ and how great that would be.

On the first day of school, all the students who had signed up for band were called to the gym.

They had built a state-of-the-art band room at Langley High School and all the students from all over the district that had signed up for band were being put into two Grade 7 classes that would attend Langley High.

In one day, we had gone from being the Big Kids to the little kids.

Even my sister in Grade 12 refused to acknowledge my presence in ‘her school.’

Posting the class lists is a thing of the past due to privacy laws and the fact that the teachers have only a vague idea of who will be where on the first day of school.

The students are advised to report to the classrooms they were in last year and when the staff has an idea of numbers, the assignments to classes are made.

To me, it seems being organized a week ahead was better for everyone but that was then, this is now.

The first day can be stressful or delightful.

Either way, you’ll remember it for years.

At least that’s what McGregor says.