A new school year starts again

Published 6:29 pm Monday, September 3, 2018

By Chris Quilpa

As summer ends, school starts with mixed feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, anticipation, anxiety and hope for all concerned. Students, teachers, school staff and volunteers are back to school once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your ears! Do not disturb! No loitering and littering, please! No talking, unless you’re given the opportunity to talk and to ask relevant questions! Such is a daily classroom routine in which time (and classroom) management is essential for teachers and educators.

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Whether you’re a teacher or student, school is one place to acquire knowledge, skills and experiences and to make friends who will eventually become a part of your life.

For school year 2018-2019, school is definitely back in business. Like it or not, it’s again the season of teaching and learning, with teachers and students, the two most important ingredients in education. Without one or the other, there’s no education.

As an advocate of education, I feel optimistic that the sacrifices of our teachers and students, school administrators and staff, and volunteers will yield productive and positive results: successful scholastic performance, high graduation rates, students receiving awards for their scholastic achievements, or promotion to the next grade level, or graduation and gainful employment, pursuing higher education, or joining in the military.

Teachers and school administrators and staff are honored and recognized for their professionalism, public service, leadership, competence and excellence in education and instruction, or administration. On the other hand, proud parents have reasons to celebrate for their sacrifices (financial and all-out support) for their students.

Speaking of the education profession, I have high regard for our teachers. In spite of their meager or limited salary, they work beyond the confines of their classroom doing what they love and what is expected of them. Even if the bell has rung for the last period, they go the extra miles to help students learn and succeed. They bring home school work and other stuff and continue to work on them ’til midnight.

They prepare, implement or execute their lesson plans that are in accord with school curriculum. They deal with and manage students with varied issues, concerns and problems. They demand discipline, high standards and expectations from their students. If a number of their students didn’t do well in exams or tests, they feel sad, disappointed or frustrated. How did I know about all of these scenarios and sentiments? I used to be a Communication Arts-English teacher/college instructor back in the days in the Philippines, from 1977 to 1983.

All of us were once or still are a student, and continue to be as long as we live and love learning. Undergoing many changes and challenges, and overcoming them, we have had fears and insecurities. At times, we failed to go to school because of financial constraints, unfinished homework or project, or unprepared for an exam because of work and overwhelming subjects to review and study.

But, with diligence, determination and passion for learning, we finished one grade level to another until we graduated, and continued to pursue higher education while working.

With all the inspiration and motivation I have had, I have been gainfully employed and adventurously traveled abroad, and then joined in and retired from the U.S. Navy, after 20 years of honorable military service.

By the way, my wife Freny, a veteran chemistry teacher for years, is ever ready to welcome everyone, new and old students and teachers, in her school. Determined to help parents and collaborate with fellow teachers and school administrators to accomplish goals, she’s ready to teach and inspire her students to excel and succeed. She can’t wait to execute her lesson plans, engaging with her students with interesting topics in chemistry. Of course, she expects them all to pass their Virginia state-wide Standards of Learning exams and her class, and ultimately graduate.

Welcome back to school, teachers and students! God bless you.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.