Balto. Co. teachers report, minus students 7,000 will work week before start of classes

August 20, 1996|By Joe Nawrozki and Melody Simmons | Joe Nawrozki and Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

As summer faded and the season's last tomato sandwiches were prepared with a touch of nostalgia, Chris Corbeil knew this day would arrive.

In fact, the anticipation was so great she could hardly sleep.

Yesterday, along with 7,000 other teachers throughout Baltimore County, Corbeil reported for her first day of school, at Parkville High. She is among 46,600 Maryland educators preparing for classes that start as early as Monday or as late as Sept. 4 in school districts across the state.

"I'm always excited about the first day back," said Corbeil, a ninth-grade English teacher, as she constructed a new bulletin board in her second-floor classroom.

"This is my third year and we're starting out with a completely new slate, new faces. I tossed and turned all night just thinking about this new school year."

In the county's 160 schools yesterday, staple guns echoed in the clean and empty hallways as classrooms were readied for more than 100,000 incoming students -- part of an estimated statewide enrollment of 825,000.

Teachers, most dressed in summer mufti, unloaded supplies and greeted each other with questions about vacations and books read. Nearly everywhere, pleas carried forth: "Anybody have an extra handcart?"

At Cockeysville Middle School, reality began to settle in as teachers were summoned to a "friendly kickoff" by Principal Marsha Baumeister, known to all as "Mrs. B."

Rosanna Hisley, an 18-year teaching veteran who is coordinator for special education at the school, said she couldn't wait to return to the classroom yesterday.

"The reality is, you can only take so much vacation," Hisley said. "Then you get itchy to get back."

Down the hall, Bob Tucek, 23, was overwhelmed. A recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Tucek moved to Baltimore from Pittsburgh on Aug. 12 in preparation for his first assignment: sixth-grade math teacher for 120 preteens.

As he entered his stark classroom, Tucek realized he was stepping into the first phase of a dream come true. He had bulletin boards to decorate, rulers to organize, books to retrieve from storage and lesson plans to prepare.

Through the chaos of his first day in school, he kept smiling.

"I've wanted to be a teacher since 11th grade because of the teachers I had," he said. "Those teachers influenced my life so I just want to do the same for these kids. I have to look at the books and figure out what I'm going to teach. I've not done anything in my room except unlock it."

At Stoneleigh Elementary School, third-grade teacher Kim Resendes made decorations and renewed her love of teaching -- a career she started three years ago after repossessing cars for a living.

"At the end of the day -- even if it was the worst day -- I feel like I've made a difference," she said. "I've done something worthwhile. I didn't feel that way when I repossessed a car."

Parkville High's principal, Jacqueline H. Pipkin, greeted her 90-plus faculty members with a breakfast, as well as informational packets covering school board policies and procedures at Parkville, which also serves as an area magnet school for math, science and computer science.

"Today is the calm before the storm next week," Pipkin said with a laugh. She has worked in education for three decades as a special education teacher and principal.

"Opening day is very exciting because people are back tanned and rested," she said. "Those stress lines that gathered in June have disappeared."

Michael Sandler, chairman of Parkville High's social studies department, said, "I still get excited after 30 years of teaching. bTC

will have a new audience. I will have to prove myself again."

In Baltimore County public education, Chesapeake High School Principal George Dausch is considered the sage after 40 years in the system.

"Teachers need to get away from it all in the summer, do a shakeout, after teaching for a year," Dausch said. "Getting the best out of the students builds up tension, but here we are again."

Blessings come in unfamiliar forms, the principal said.

"Each year, I wonder if I've lost something," he said. "But each year I work with kids and my faculty, I realize preparing young people for a rapidly changing world is so invigorating I can't think of not doing this."

Pub Date: 8/20/96

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