Busy Teachers Prepare For New School Year

They're stacking books, making lesson plans and decorating bulletin boards.

Teachers are busy getting ready for the new school year.

School starts next week in Gulfport. And preparations are well underway at Anniston Avenue Elementary.

"I think it's really important that the children come into a bright, clean atmosphere. I really like to stick with the primary colors," explained Helen Dunn as she decorated her room.

Dunn wants her second graders to feel welcome the minute they walk into the classroom. That's why her room decorations include so many bright colors, friendly faces and familiar figures.

"I like to go out each year and buy a character that's popular with children that year. And they had the Scooby Doo movie on recently, so I went and got a Scooby Doo and a horse named Spirit. I like to have something the children love ready for them when they come in," said Dunn.

Sandra Wilks admits she got a late start getting her room ready this year. She's been busy working on her master's degree this summer. Preparing for a new school year takes more time than most imagine.

"There are weeks of preparation. Not just cosmetic preparation in getting the walls and bulletin boards and getting desks in order, but sitting down with your other teachers and planning what's going to be taught," said Wilks.

The week before school starts, the preparations are nearly finished. A sense of anxious anticipation fills the classrooms. Even veteran teachers say the first day of school often brings jitters.

"As far as the first day of school, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get any easier. You get nervous any year. It's just as important to you. I guarantee you as many children who don't sleep the first night before school starts, there's that many teachers too," said fifth grade teacher, Pat Stokes.

The busy teachers can also relate to something else many students wonder:  How did summer go by so quickly?