It’s time. With now summer in our rearview mirrors and students headed back to classrooms, I can pull out my favorite jigsaw puzzle. Though it represents education in a different era, it puts me in the right frame of mind for the start of school. Every time I see this puzzle, I’m reminded of a television show I watched when I was young, Little House on the Prairie.

Set in the late 1800s, this show featured a one-room schoolhouse nestled in the small-town community of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Though I remember most of the cast of characters, one stands out in particular: Harriet Oleson. She was the stereotypical “nosy neighbor.” She knew everyone’s business, was very pessimistic, and continually stirred whatever pot she could get her hands in.

Thinking about Harriet Oleson makes me thankful for my real-life neighbor, Bob. Bob is great. He knows our kids, keeps an eye on our house when we are away, is quick to help out when we have a problem, and best of all, he sees the best in people. He’s just a good person. Everyone needs a neighbor like Bob.

Teachers, seek out the Bobs in your school community this year. Cling to the people who know your kids, check up on things when you are absent, help out when needed, and see the best in you and others. Life is too short to let the Harriet Oleson’s of the world take the joy out of things, so tag some of your supportive teaching neighbors with this post and commit to having a great school year no matter what obstacles get thrown your way.