“The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. ‘Summer is over and gone,’ they sang.
“‘Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.’
“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. …
“Everybody heard the song of the crickets. … They knew that school would soon begin again.”
— Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
For most children, parents and educators in the Cayman Islands, this weekend is an annual milestone — the final halcyon days of summer before the start of the new school year.
While some of our youngsters may be marking these last days off the calendar with a sense of sorrow and trepidation, many more, we imagine, are refreshed from the long break and ready to take up their studies again with renewed vigor. (Never underestimate the potential power of a young soul rejuvenated.)
For parents, the return of the school year means — yes, the return of morning traffic — but mainly the restoration of dormant social circles, the opportunity to establish relationships with a new group of teachers, and the chance to share in their children’s joyful journey of discovery and elucidation.
For educators, both veteran and junior, the new school year is a time of nearly unlimited possibilities. We can imagine few things as inspiring as a teacher addressing for the first time a class of pupils, their ductile minds fresh canvases for knowledge, challenges and creativity. As we have stated on many occasions on this editorial page, the single most important point in any school system is the nexus that exists between an enthusiastic teacher and a receptive student anxious to learn.
The people responsible for creating an environment where talented teachers can focus on their students are, primarily, the principals (who are the singular driving forces behind the success or failure of their schools and students) — as well as other administrators.
But when this newspaper contemplates the efficacy of an educational system, our thoughts always turn to the classroom teachers. As most of our readers are aware, and many surely have personally experienced, a talented and passionate teacher can alter upward the trajectory of children’s lives and, sometimes just by example, can enable them to pursue and achieve goals they otherwise may never have dared to dream, or may never have had any conception of.
The reverse, sadly, is also true.
So as we prepare to enter a new school year in Cayman, we offer our encouragement and unyielding support to the dedicated teachers of this country, who, for the next 10 months or so, will be entrusted with the budding future of our society. We celebrate them as stewards, as mentors, but most importantly, as educators.
Welcome back to school, Cayman.