Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved school. I loved everything about it — and still do.

I loved the building itself and the friends who attended classes with me. I couldn’t wait to get there every day and, fortunately, I was hardly ever sick. I was eager to dive in and participate in whatever awaited me. Each day seemed like a new adventure.

When I was young, my teachers were fun, caring and friendly. They wanted us to succeed and to learn new things. They enjoyed their jobs, but took their responsibilities seriously. When I was in fifth grade, I decided I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be a teacher.

Last week and this week, students and teachers all over the state of Maine are saying goodbye to summer and hello to school. We’re returning to familiar places or transitioning to new schools, meeting new friends and new teachers.

Students have added supplies to their backpacks and new clothes to their closets. Teachers have been shopping for back-to-school bargains and have visited Ruth’s Recyclables to fill their shopping carts with free items donated by area businesses. These items will be used in classrooms across southern Maine.

In these times of deep budget cuts, teachers are willing to wait in a long line for their turn to push a shopping cart around the warehouse and stock up on necessary materials so their students will have what they need to assist them in learning.

We’ll be going to bed earlier in anticipation of the alarm clock going off in the morning. No more late nights or leisurely mornings.

Our breakfast time will be cut short and we’ll be glad we packed our lunch the night before. It will be hectic for awhile, getting used to bus schedules and making sure homework or lesson plans are done and packed.

We can’t forget to get a haircut and new shoes to start off the school year. New schedules and new ideas will shape our upcoming days. Collaborating with others and using the latest technology in order to build those 21st-century skills will become a priority.

There will always be testing and the anxiety associated with it — both for the students who want to get good results and for the teachers who will likely be held accountable for their students’ assessment scores.

There also will be the “Aha!” moments and times of discovery when students find reading to be purposeful and writing to be engaging.

Challenges await them and teachers will be there to help them navigate their course.

The ubiquitous excitement of a new school year has always been part of my life. Each year, as September rolls around, there is much work to be done.

Summer winds down and it is a bittersweet farewell to many activities. The camp needs to be closed down and the classroom needs to be set up. This is our tradition here in Maine.

Tourists may still be around for a while longer, but we are back to the books! So, kids and teachers, get ready for another busy school year.

There’s always more to learn!

– Special to the Telegram