My Bio

My Bio
My name is Sharon Levin and I've been reviewing children's literature for 20 years. I founded and run the Bay Area Children's Literature List. My biggest passion (outside my family) is getting books into the hands of children and teens. My favorite thing is getting non-readers to realize that they're readers. I also LOVE t-shirts that have to do with books or literature. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll have a click through on the above picture so you can see my entire collection (and where to get them).

August 16, 2016

A Very Special First Day of School


Warning:  This is a Mom Brag Blog, I just can’t help it.  BUT I’m also not one of those annoying moms who think their child can do no wrong and pretends it was all smooth sailing.  Elise and I have discussed writing a book (when she’s 30) titled My Teen’s Not Perfect, How ‘Bout Yours?  So,  yeah, I know better. J

So, onward…

I have had many first days of school, my own, of course, but those for the most part have faded.  I do remember sixth grade when my friends and I had discussed whether we’d wear dresses or pants on the first day.  I am old enough, that even having that choice was a bit new for us.  Until fourth grade, girls had to wear skirts or dresses, pants were not allowed.  Forgetting to wear shorts under our clothes on PE days usually resulted in that classic poem about European capitals and underwear.

But, the first days of school that are more important to me now are those of my daughters.  I remember Elise’s first day of kindergarten, looking at her hunched sleepily over her hot chocolate and thinking to myself, “This is my life for the next 15 years.”

Well, as they say, The days are long but the years are short, and those 15 years (plus 2) are over now. 

We still went shopping for school supplies this year though, not only for Sasha, our college sophomore, but also, in a very special way, for Elise.

This fall, Elise will be experiencing the first day of school from the other side of the desk.  She will be a student teacher, teaching math to seventh graders.  I look at the path she’s taken and who she is and I think how lucky these students are to have her.

Elise has always had a passion for education and for schools.  She started a major fundraiser for her school district in 5th grade, she has tutored or been a camp counselor since middle school and volunteered in multiple schools in Berkeley and Oakland during her college years.

She ‘gets’ this age and she gets math (that would be the paternal genes at work) but mainly, she is kind, loving and intelligent and she realizes that everyone, especially adolescents, need to feel seen and heard. 


Her eventual job goal is to work in educational research, but she realizes that to do research and to make recommendations, she needs to have practical teaching experience first.

Teaching, like parenting, is MUCH easier in theory, than in practice.

So, yes, it’s a different first day of school and an incredibly special one and I couldn’t be more proud.

23 comments:

  1. I still remember my seventh-grade math teacher, Mrs. Neiberger. She would lead little guided meditations to get us calmed down before quizzes, ALWAYS returned our graded homework and tests the next day, and made us feel like we could do it! I hope it's a great year for your daughter and she gets all the thanks and support coming to her. :)

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    1. Isn't it amazing how the good teachers really stick with us? They have such an impact. Thank you for sharing that and thanks for the good wishes for Elise!

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  2. Her students are going to be very lucky to have her.

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    1. Well, I think so, but I'm bit biased. :-) Thank you so much for saying that!

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  3. Three cheers for teachers and congratulations to Elise! I often think of the influential teachers I was lucky enough to have through the years. It's difficult, very important work.

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    1. Teachers can make such a huge difference, can't they? Her mentor teacher that she's working with is AMAZING so I think Elise will teach a lot and learn a lot. Thanks so much for the congrats for Elise, she really appreciates all the good wishes.

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  4. Great mom, great kids, great writing.... Nice way to start the morning. Thanks!!

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    1. Thank you Craig!! I remember we met when Elise invited me to the leadership conference in San Mateo. How lucky I was that I went!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing. I like the phrase that the days are long and the years are short. Best wishes to Elise on her new teaching adventure, which I think is a calling!

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    1. Thanks! I stole that from somewhere (wish I could claim it). I do think it's a calling for her. She's so excited about meeting 'her kids'

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  6. I'm so excited for Elise! Her students are definitely very lucky, and bless her for taking on middle school mathematics. I have great colleagues if she ever is looking for resources. And spot on about experiencing the practical before heading into research!

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    1. Thanks Teacher BeBekka (remember, that's what Sasha called you). She loves the age and she loves math, so it's a great fit. I told her about your comment on the blog and it really touched her. xoxo

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  7. My daughter is starting seventh grade tomorrow, and I'm sure she would be lucky to have a committed, caring teacher like Elise. Congratulations to you both!

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    1. So sorry for late reply, been off-line (well, off-blog) for awhile. Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope 7th grade is going well for your daughter. Has she read THE GIRLS yet? It's a pretty perfect middle school book.

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  8. Thanks for this lovely post, Sharon! It's exciting to see your kindergartner suddenly become a student teacher...

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    1. Thanks Annette! It really, really is. And now, two and a half months into it, is is absolutely lovely to see the delight she takes in her students and how much she loves teaching.

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  9. It's a special girl who understands the mind and heart of a middle schooler! And math? Wow, that's a girl who's going to make a difference...but then again, it's no surprise to me after (virtually) knowing her mama!

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    1. Aw, thank you (and sorry for delay, haven't visited the blog recently, BAD Sharon!). She is truly adoring her students and it sounds like they adore her too. It's also incredibly sweet that she has invited her dad to come in to talk about math and careers (he's an engineer) and she invited me in to do a book talk. So cool!!

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  10. Congratulations to you and Elise! She will make a wonderful teacher, and her students are fortunate to have her! I look forward to hearing more about her experiences, because my daughter is one year behind her and will be doing her student teaching at the elementary level next fall.

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    1. Thank you and Elise thanks you!! :-) I can't wait to hear about your daughter's adventures next year!!

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