Teachers gear up for classes

By: Ryan Famuliner Email
By: Ryan Famuliner Email

For many Michiana students, Monday was the last day of summer vacation.

Both South Bend Community School Corporation and School City of Mishawaka classes start Tuesday.

While there's no doubt students are getting ready for school, teachers are also gearing up for a new year. Monday was the first day all teachers were required to come in to work in both South Bend and Mishawaka.

“There is just something about the smell of the building when you walk in, and it's the waxed floors, and the custodians have been working all summer, it's just kind of that routine of life," said teacher Caryn Ellison, who has taught elementary school for 22 years.

The halls at Twin Branch elementary school were quiet Monday, and so was the lunchroom. And the classrooms.

But Tuesday, things will change quite a lot.

“180 degrees I think if that’s my math, truthfully it's very calm here today, and everything is bright and shiny, and tomorrow it will be bursting with energy, you know the kids, with their new sneakers and backpacks,” said Jackie Vanderheyden, who has taught for 23 years – 18 of them with School City of Mishawaka.

As was the story at most schools in the area, the teachers at Twin Branch spent Monday going over their last minute preparations for the first day of school.

They held a laid-back afternoon meeting to talk about anything from photo albums to fire drills.

And of course, an elementary school wouldn't be complete without decorated rooms.

"Everyone likes to create an environment, and you'll see a lot of themes in the rooms, and we just want the students to look into their rooms and think, wow, that's a great place, I want to be there," Ellison said.

Starting Tuesday, students in Mishawaka and South Bend will have to be there, whether they want to or not.

But coming from teachers with over 20 years experience, the first day isn't a burden.

"My experience has been in the classroom is that they really are glad to get back. Kids really need structure, they just don't know it sometimes,” Vanderheyden said.

Starting Tuesday, South Bend has a full day of classes. But Mishawaka schools don't start their regular schedule until Thursday. Classes at all schools in Mishawaka will let out at 11:30am Tuesday and Wednesday.

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