Sept. 9, 2015
Holy wow my Facebook feed was overflowing with kids yesterday! One after the other they kept coming — the start of kindergarten, the first day of third grade, the beginning of senior year and so on. I’ve been seeing scattered first day of school photos for a couple of weeks from friends in other states or those who have kids in private school. But yesterday was an absolute avalanche of smiling faces in new clothes, loaded down with backpacks and lunch boxes. I loved (and thumbs up liked) every single one I saw.
There’s something so exciting about the first day of school no matter whose kids are going. Those eager (and even not so eager) little minds have an open road of opportunities ahead of them. They have so many things to learn — things that will challenge, inspire, frustrate and motivate them. There will be new friends to be made and new passions to explore. They will figure out where they want to go in life, or at least figure out where they don’t.
I vaguely remember my first day of kindergarten. I lived right across the street from my school and my sisters were in third and sixth grade so it didn’t really seem all that scary. I’m sure I had my hair in high pigtails and probably wore a dress with knee socks. Mrs. Martin greeted us at the special blue door just for kindergartners and I started my school career. I absolutely loved it. Even while trying to master new things like numbers and letters and cutting paper, life was pretty cool back then. Remember naptime? What I wouldn’t give now for my boss to come around announcing, “It’s naptime. Everyone get out your mats and lie down for a little break.” If he brought snacks right before that, I’d be in heaven.
I remember my daughter’s first day of school like it was yesterday, though it was quite a bit longer ago than that. She wore the most adorable school-themed dress made by my mother and a yellow ribbon that looked like a ruler in her hair. We dropped her off and she seemed so small. When we picked her up she had already mastered how to keep herself going on the swing. She never slowed down. In the blink of an eye, her school career was over. Now that little girl in the school dress is mastering life on her own in the Big Apple. Seriously, where does the time go?
Living in Okemos, my daughter’s classrooms often had MSU students in them while they fulfilled their yearlong teaching internship. If you live in Michigan, I can just about guarantee that you will find MSU College of Education alumni in every school you enter. Because they spent an entire year doing an internship before having their own classes, they are incredibly prepared to be outstanding educators. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: The Fifth-Year Internship to learn more about the value of those internship experiences.
Great MSU teachers aren’t just found in K-12 classrooms. MSU’s campus is teeming with exceptional professors and instructors in every field.
Gina Leinninger is an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience Program and a member of MSU’s Molecular Metabolism and Disease research program. Her research focuses on how neurons may contribute to obesity and a lack of a desire to move around. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Genes that Control the Size of Our Jeans, to learn more about her work and why she lists musician Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and movie director Wes Anderson among her muses.
The school year is just beginning for everyone from kindergartners to Ph.D. students, and anyone lucky enough to be taught by a Spartan is fortunate. Who will open minds, inspire learning and teach tomorrow’s leaders? Spartans Will.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz