I made a note of it. That quiet moment on the Friday before the first day of school. I had spent the day helping anyone and everyone in the building get prepared for that first day of school. I spent a lot of time going up the stairs and down the stairs, visiting classrooms and checking in with teachers who were working feverishly at the arrangement of desks and chairs for their pending students. The school was that beehive of activity you have always imagined.
I didn't have to imagine it. I was there. Again. Bulletin boards covered with brightly colored paper. Furniture that had no place in one room found a place in another. Games that had lost their pieces, books that had lost most of their pages, VHS tapes and other obsolete items found their way to the proper receptacles. More books and games were put away on empty shelves that became full.
The quiet moment did not come until much later. Lots of staples had to be pushed into paper, and plenty of signatures had to be affixed to forms that would allow those eager faces into those prepped and polished classrooms. Grownups reminded one another that certain phrases and attitudes would need to be put on hold before the kids appeared to be confounded or oppressed by same.
Teachers, after working in their classrooms for a number of days were having a mixture of feelings: anticipation, excitement, confusion, fear, and more anticipation. As the hours passed, many of them started getting a little punchy. It is a pretty unusual thing to have that much adult interaction over the course of a day in an elementary school. The rooms and hallways were full of a different type of energy.
Until suddenly they weren't. At some point, everyone had to give in and go home. At some point, no matter how much any teacher prepares, there is only one thing left to do: bring in the students. Everyone came to that point at a little different time, but eventually the time came to surrender. What else could be done? And that was when that moment came. It sounded a lot like the moments after the last day of school. That teacher work day that feels so strange.
And so quiet.
But not for long.