Students arenâ€™t the only ones who say goodbye to the freedom of summer. This week teachers across Lincoln County have been adjusting to life back in academia.
Like their students, many are excited and ready to get started. They missed the routine and schedule of the school year and they missed having young people around.
â€œIâ€™m ready for school to start back,â€ said Tina Hart, an assistant kindergarten teacher at Rock Springs Elementary School.
Hart looks forward to meeting her new students.
â€œTheyâ€™re little sponges, and they absorb everything,â€ she said.
She spent her summer months caring for her 70-year-old father, who suffers from congestive heart failure. Her mother has appreciated the help.
When not focusing on family, students have been on Hartâ€™s brain. All summer she bought things that would be useful in the classroom. Her mom has gotten in on the action, too.
â€œShe ends up getting as much stuff as I do,â€ said Hart.
Amy Farley, a kindergarten teacher at Iron Station Elementary School, also spent her summer away from school.
â€œMy summer is just down time for me to just really relax and focus on me and my family,â€ she said.
For the past five summers, Farley has taken youth on mission trips. The teenagers she spends time with are quite different from the kindergartners she teaches, but she finds both experiences rewarding.
Stephanie Jacobs, a science teacher at Lincolnton Middle School, also took a trip this summer â€” chaperoning middle school cheerleaders.
â€œIt was fun to see the other side of kids,â€ she said. â€œTheyâ€™re not just sitting in their desk.â€
Her coworker, physical education and health teacher James Castiglione, also took a trip this summer. He spent several weeks in Buffalo, N.Y. planning his wedding.
â€œI went to about a million different banquet halls and churches to figure out where to get married,â€ he said.
His fiancee, however, made most of the decisions.
â€œIâ€™m just a yes-man when it comes to that,â€ he said.
While very few teachers spent the summer planning their wedding, many did spend time at the beach or in the mountains.
Many of these same teachers, however, also spent a good portion of their summer inside school walls.
â€œI spent most of my summer moving my classroom,â€ said Jacobs.
Jacque Weaver, a teacher at Rock Springs Elementary School, spent time reorganizing her classroom and attending a workshop on student learning.
â€œI plan to use a lot of the information in my classroom,â€ she said.
Principals and assistant principals also spent their summer vacation in a similar manner.
â€œI worked!â€ said Stephanie Dellinger, an assistant principal at Iron Station Elementary School.
That work included a lot of remodeling.
â€œWe have had a good summer, and everything looks beautiful now,â€ Dellinger said.
Richard Howell, an assistant principal at Lincolnton Middle School, spent the summer learning about his new job and preparing for the coming school year.
He also took time for his second job with WLON in Lincolnton and WCSL in Cherryville broadcasting sports news.
For the past 15 years this hobby has worked nicely with his experience as a high school physical education and weight training teacher.
â€œYou can see both sides of the student athlete,â€ he said.
Like many school staff members, Howell is excited to start the school year.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to once again seeing a different side of school,â€ he said.
by Sarah Grano