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Best Year Yet (a short story)

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This happens every year. I’m always wondering where the summer went. If only I had one more morning to sleep in. I wish I had spent just one more weekend at the beach. I still have three books on my Kindle that I haven’t gotten to yet. Once school starts next week I don’t know when I’ll find time to read them.

How many more days? I’m tired of just sittin’ around all day. This summer took longer than last. I’m glad they gave us that reading list. I hope the teacher will be cool with me reading all but two of the books. The library didn’t have ’em and mom wouldn’t let me buy any. Said they cost too much.

I’m really wondering how I’m going to be able to cover all of these new standards and teach a brand new grade. Sometimes I wonder if they really think about all of the changes we have to make at once.

I guess I understand why I couldn’t get those books. Since Mom got a new job and we had to move, money has been tight. I just wish I didn’t have to share a bed with my brother. If he’d stop having those nightmares I could probably get some sleep.

If I have to sit through one more of these boring professional development sessions I think I’m going to lose it! Don’t they realize how boring they are? I mean they did get us breakfast and lunch, but that was about all I got out of the whole day.

Just one more day. I don’t know why I have to go with mom and my brother Willie to the hospital. They always say his nightmares will get better, but they never do. I can’t believe we had to wait all day in the hospital while they ran the tests. The chairs were uncomfortable and we didn’t even get to eat anything. Mom said she’d cook us something when we got home. She forgot, so I just ate a bowl of cereal.

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m nervous. How many years have I been doing this? I hope I have all of their nametags filled out. I wonder how this year’s class is going to be. The only name I recognize is Billy and I’ve heard he is a handful. His teacher last year said he’s always tired and never finished all of his homework. I’ll have to let him know who’s the boss the first day.

Let me ride my bike out to school to check the list. It says I have Mr. Stevens. I really don’t know much about him. I’ve heard some kids say he is mean, but what do they know. I bet he’s alright. How tough can he really be? I’ll give him a chance.

Wow, this class doesn’t seem bad at all. Even that kid Billy doesn’t seem too bad, although he looks like he slept in the clothes he’s wearing. I wonder what his story is.

Man I’m glad to be back at school. It was good to eat breakfast and not have somebody screaming in my ear. I wonder how Willie is doing. Maybe I’ll go check on him the next time I go to the bathroom.

Five more minutes and the first day is in the books. I hear a bunch of the teachers are going to happy hour right after school. Maybe I’ll join them.

I wonder how Billy’s first day was. The new medicine the doctor got him is supposed to help but you never know. I hope Mom left me something to cook us for dinner. It’s bad enough she doesn’t get home until 9, but if I have to have cereal one more night.

There’s the bell. It was a great first day. Oh no, here comes Billy. What does he want? He had a decent first day except for the time he took ten minutes to go to the bathroom. What fifth grader can’t go to the bathroom in five minutes? I think the recess detention got him straight though.

Hey Mr. Stevens I just wanted to let you know straight up, I didn’t read all of the books on the list. I’m sorry. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Well that wasn’t as bad as I thought. He should know though that he had the whole summer to read those books. I hope he doesn’t think he’s getting full credit. He’s coming back. Why?

Oh yeah, Mr. Stevens I got you this pen from the hospital last week. They were giving them out free and I thought you might want one. I know teachers like pens and stuff like that. See ya.

Thank you Billy! Hey, you got a minute?

Sure, I’ve got about an hour. My brother stays for a special after school program. But, I thought you were going to happy hour. I heard you teachers talking about it in the hallway.

I’ll go next time. You want to borrow those two books you didn’t get to read this summer? They’re somewhere in those boxes over there. If you help me look I’ll bet we can find them before your brother gets out.

It took them an hour to go through all those boxes. But they found those two books. More than anything though, they found each other at just the right time. And they each went home that night knowing that this was going to be their best year yet.

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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

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Guest Thursday, 25 April 2019