IXLers Share Favorite Back to School Memories

School is in full swing! In honor of this season of new beginnings, we asked IXLers to share their favorite back to school memories. From the excitement of book covers and back to school shopping to a sneaky teacher prank, their responses remind us that school days are the best days.


I was always so excited for the first day and few weeks of school. I’d be so excited to start getting homework assignments and the first few weeks I’d write so neatly and do everything perfectly. Fast forward a month or so, and I was back to normal. I still liked school but homework was definitely not as exciting and my notebooks were not quite as neat. Funny how I went through this year after year!

—Karen B.

Original artwork by Adam S.

Since my high school owned all our textbooks and wanted to be able to reuse them, the first assignment of the year was to put a cover on your textbook to protect the spine. Some of my classmates found this ridiculous and paid for plastic sleeves from an office store. I loved the process of cutting up a paper bag, taping it carefully in places so it fit snugly but still opened easily. I would decorate it, and over the course of the year, my textbooks gathered more and more doodles on the cover, including “Kilroy” peeping over a wall and other cartoon characters.

—Adam S.

My first day of American school was in December, and I entered second grade with almost no English knowledge and scared out of my mind. I came from a Japanese school with an almost exclusively Japanese population so it was an experience to make friends with American kids. I had American school food for the first time and my favorite ended up being some concoction with turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes. I remember thinking Elmer’s glue was the weirdest thing ever, and using it to make a mess with glitter was an unheard-of delight.

—Tiger K.

There was always a school supplies list that parents were meant to buy for their kids and my parents used to pay for it. One year my parents decided that we should all take a family trip to Walmart and have us kids go through the aisles ourselves and buy what we needed based on the list. We were given the same budget, but if we were economical in some places (buying a shared pack of glue sticks, getting the cheap 10-cent spirals instead of nicer ones, reusing a pencil box from last year), we were able to choose to buy nicer pencils (read: mechanical instead of wooden) or binders. It ultimately saved my parents a lot of money, and it was fun getting fancier tools than some of my peers.

—Julia Z.

My favorite back to school memory would probably be saving paper bags and meticulously measuring and cutting them to perfectly wrap my textbooks. Everything was always so brand new for just a short while, and after a few weeks those perfectly wrapped books would be covered in glitter pen doodles and handwritten notes from friends.

—Krizia M.

On my first day teaching math at a community college, I sat down in the back of the room and tried to blend in. (I was very young-looking.) At the start of the class, I walked slowly up to the front, trying to look bigger than I was and praying that people wouldn’t notice my nervousness. I thought it would be funny, but it took some convincing to get my students to acknowledge me as their instructor. Luckily I had the roster and the teacher edition of the textbook as proof. It probably was a memorable experience for the students to see their punk instructor pull a stunt like that!

—Tiger K.