NORTHBORO, Mass. — As the remaining few days of summer slip away, high school math teacher Mary Rose Steele is feeling something that hasn't been there in quite a while: excitement.
"I'm excited for the first time in three years to be starting the school year on the right foot," Steele explained while sitting in her kitchen.
From where she sits, Mary Rose offers a unique perspective on the upcoming school year. She's both a teacher and the parent of three kids, all of whom are about to begin school in a few weeks, and all of whom are also pretty excited to hit the right marks this school year.
"I feel like we’ve pulled away from COVID in that people are emotionally settled," Steele said.
After almost three years of hybrid learning and masks and disruptions, this upcoming school year feels fairly normal for students across the country.
"Last year, we were partly online. It was a little hard from just being online and then going back to school. This year, I'm excited," Steele's youngest daughter, Sophie, said.
That does not mean though that there won't be challenges. So, we asked this lifelong educator what she needs most this year.
"I want kids to come back with a work ethic. I just am hoping they are ready to come back socially ready to learn this year. That was my biggest challenge last year," she added.
From students to parents and even her colleagues, there's one other thing Mary Rose says she needs to be successful this year.
"Kindness toward each other. Kindness toward ourselves, accepting sometimes we will fail we aren't going to get a problem right but we can get through this. We can get through this as a team."