Imagine that you are an invisible visitor in the homes of some people on the first day of the new school year. What might you hear and see?

ELEMENTARY TEACHER: (Dressing in a light-weight pants suit and packing up a box of teddy bears, Goldfish crackers, and an already-overstuffed planning book) – "I hope I have a good bunch of kids this year. Hope we get them all on the right bus at the end of the day. Did I remember to pack my tissues?"

SECONDARY TEACHER: (Dressing in a power suit with lapel pin that reads "Knowledge is power", packing up a briefcase with index cards, a red pen, a class schedule, and a copy of the main textbook) – "Boy, that summer vacation was short. It's too hot to be back in school already. Wonder if my ninth grade English class is full of problem kids? Hope the assistant principal will lay the law down right away."

PARENT: (Rushing around the kitchen making lunches, getting breakfast, and finding book bags) – "Hang in there, only fifteen more minutes and I can sit down with a cup of coffee and watch "Regis and Kelly. Boy, this summer vacation seemed longer than usual. Did I remember to fill out those emergency information forms? Oh well, I'm sure they'll track me down somehow."

PRINCIPAL: (Sitting in the empty, quiet, cool office, drinking the 10th cup of coffee and staring at the wall) – "Why am I here at 6 a.m.? Couldn't sleep because I was imagining all the things that can go wrong today. Thought I'd get in the office early and get a head start on all the others, but one of my fourth grade teachers arrived at 5:30. She's new. I probably won't get home until 7 p.m. this evening – after all the buses get every kid back home."

BUS DRIVER: (Pinning his nameplate to his uniform shirt and grabbing his thermos of coffee) – "Here we go again. Another 180 days of never being bored. Wonder what interesting stories I'll have to tell my wife this year? I have my first day speech all prepared to give to my busload full of high school kids – GET IN, SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, HOLD ON, GET OUT."

PTA PRESIDENT: (Getting a box full of school tee-shirts from her attic) – "Wonder why I can never find anyone to work the first day of school at the school store with me? Everyone must be so glad that the kids are back that they want a free day. OH well, I'll handle it alone. I just wish the lunch periods didn't start at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. That's a long shift."

CAFETERIA MANAGER: (Donning her uniform with a crisp, clean apron and putting on a hairnet) – "Why does the nutritionist always give me trouble about having hot dogs on the first day of school? Kids love hot dogs. So what if they ate them on the grill all summer. We serve mashed potatoes and sauerkraut with them. We needed a quick and easy meal to start the new school year. Tomorrow we'll have chicken patties. Hope no one is rude enough to call them 'hockey pucks' again this year."

SCHOOL SECRETARY: (Putting on comfortable sneakers and shorts) – "I'd better get in to work early this morning. If I know my boss, he's probably already in there fidgeting. I hope he doesn't expect everything to go perfectly today because it never does. All my lists are in the computer, so I should be able to answer questions quickly. That is, if the computer works today."

ELEMENTARY PUPIL: (Arguing with Mom about wearing shorts and a tee-shirt to school when she wants him to wear nice clothes) – "Why do I have to look nice on the first day of school. Nobody cares what I wear. We're not having our pictures taken. I'll get dirty at recess. What did you put in my lunch? I am not buying in the cafeteria because they'll have those green hot dogs today and tomorrow those awful chicken hockey pucks. I hope my teacher lets us have two recesses."

SECONDARY PUPIL: (Wearing a new pair of jeans and a 'Summer Blast' tee-shirt and drinking a Diet Coke) – "Mom, I won't be home right after school because I'm going to sign up for remedial math. I know I'll need it even before classes get started. Also, please don't pack a lunch for me. They have a new salad bar in the cafeteria, so I'll eat that every day. Johnny got a new car and he's picking me up, so I won't need to ride the bus today. Did you see my class schedule? Where's my bookbag? Can I go to the mall this weekend and get a new pair of sneakers?"

And, so it begins again………………………….

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANOTHER EDUCATION AND FAMILY TOPIC WITH DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.