School’s back! TED-Ed staff’s favorite back to school traditions


Whether you’re a nervous student entering elementary school for the the first time or a veteran educator who has been teaching for decades, the first day back to school after summer break is always an adventure. In honor of all those schools heading back into session this month, we asked TED-Ed staff members to recount their favorite back to school ritual and to share an animated GIF that best describes the range of emotions they felt as they packed up for their first day back in class.


“I loved school! I loved everything about it. In fact, I wish I were in school right now! I was the kind of student that would get really good grades in subjects that interested me and very average, or sometimes worse, in things I didn’t care about. I really didn’t like systematic learning. Instead, I would skip chapters and learn things out of the order they were being taught. I also loved buying the new textbooks and school supplies with my father!”

Gerta Xhelo – TED-Ed Producer


“I was the hyper-involved student. Every. Activity. Imaginable. I loved selecting and laying out my first day of school outfit. Down to micro-accessories.”

Lisa LaBracio – TED-Ed Animator


“I was a painfully shy and awkward student. As much as I enjoyed learning, I dreaded interacting with the other students. My favorite back to school ritual was scanning my textbooks from end to end. I was fascinated by what I’d be learning over the next few months.”

Franz Palomares – TED-Ed Animation Producer


“I was a pretty good student, particularly in subjects I was interested in already. I always got my work done on time and made good grades, but I sometimes had a bit of a procrastination problem. I was interested in esoteric subjects, so I would put off other work I thought was boring in order to go above and beyond on the things that interested me. As far as back to school rituals go, buying new pencils and pens is the only one that really comes to mind (other than some light complaining).”

Sara Kladky – TED-Ed Web Coordinator


“I was a super nerd. I genuinely loved learning (though wasn’t wild about my school/classmates) and was high achieving (always overbooked academically). I went to a special program within my public school system called “The Leadership Center” (how many times do I have to say super nerd!!). Even into college, I love, love loved printing out my schedule and then mapping out the best way to get from class to class in the allotted time. This ritual was second only to packing my backpack/tote the night before with all my notebooks, printed materials, pens, etc., all ready to go.”

Jessica Ruby – TED-Ed Team Assistant


“I was a pretty involved student in both extra-curricular activities and academics. I took school pretty seriously but was also social and active. Overall, I really liked school! My favorite back to school ritual was preparing for the early days by practicing waking up early and getting ready for the day. I’d usually start this a week before the first day of school and wake up at 6:45 (the bus came at 7) and go through my whole routine. This usually lasted one day. And then I would just wing it day of.”

Caroline Cristal – TED-Ed Programs Coordinator


“I was the type of student that looked forward to the class discussions. I also left the same flipbook-style animation on the corner of every textbook I ever borrowed. I also really enjoyed going back to school shopping with my mom. I was lucky enough to snag a few new outfits each year, but I was far more excited to evaluate and choose a new Trapper Keeper.”

Logan Smalley – Director, TED-Ed


“I went to a fairly small public high school where everyone knew everyone else. I had a lot of friends in different social groups, but my closest friends might best be described as ‘nerds who do not yet self-identify as nerds.’ I was also the president of drama club and was (naturally) pretty dramatic. I loved (and dreaded) comparing schedules with my best friends the second we got them — you knew then just how much mischief you would be getting into in the upcoming year.”

Emilie Soffe – TED-Ed Editorial Coordinator

What’s your favorite back to school ritual? Which animated GIF best describes your experience? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Kim Preshoff

    This is awesome. I still feel like a cross between Daffy Duck (Franz) and the perched and pensive owls (Sara)when I go “back to school.” (I have had to go back for 28 years now!) My favorite part is buying school supplies(especially gel pens). I have a serious addiction. The best part of school is learning new things, the potential of unwritten on notebooks and SCIENCE CLASS!

  2. Prateek Jha

    The GIF with daffy duck was hillarious. I dreaded the first day of the school. I was so used to sleeping late during the vacations, the thought of not being able to sleep late almost made me cry. My favorite part was applying buying new textbooks and reading all the stories and poems from the English textbook in a few days.

Comments are closed.