It's early August, still the height of summer, right? But we can hear that back-to-school drumbeat off in the distance, steadily becoming more insistent.
Soon, we'll be surrounded by advertisements for the latest must-have gadgets and stylish fall clothes. The instant-message circles are probably already shifting their attention from summer-camp romance to the informal arbitration of what and who is really cool.
Do you think any teachers make their list? Not likely. But for Rebecca Lynch, a mother of two public school students in Massachusetts, teachers can certainly be cool.
Her "Coolteachers" calendar runs from September 2002 to December '03. Among the "models" in its dignified black-and-white photos, there's an elementary school music teacher who poses wearing a mirrored shirt and leopard-print pants (by night he plays keyboard in a band). There's also a veteran math teacher clutching a decorated wooden block who bridges the divide between academic and vocational education.
The calendar ends on a quirky note: a shot of a social studies teacher flexing her muscle with flippers and a snorkel springing from her back pockets (she takes students on adventure trips).
Ms. Lynch, whose father was a teacher, hopes her calendar will inspire people who are looking for a career that lets their creativity flourish. The teachers featured here nominated by students, parents, and colleagues blend personal passions and professional goals.
With an estimated 2 million teaching slots opening up in the US over the next decade, this is Lynch's low-tech recruitment effort.
(For more information see www.coolteachers.org or write to P.O. Box 143 Wayland, MA 01778.)