We are new to the whole school experience. I mean, we've done daycare and preschool/pre-k, but the big league schools are our current new adventure. Big Mister started kindergarten just before labor day. With a big heavy sigh, a few misty eyed hugs, and an enormous amount of pride we sent him off to the big school without us. He's had to go into a classroom full of strangers, new routines, new rules, and a new teacher. He's had to learn to navigate a school that must seem gigantic to these little 5 year olds. And yet, he's done it with class. We are simply amazed at what he's capable of doing. The boy that has always hung back in new situations to take his time sizing it up before joining in never hesitated. While we have worked hard over the summer to promote school as a wonderful experience, a bad first day would have undone everything. But that didn't happen. For that, I thank his teacher.
He does not fight us when it is time to get ready for school. Homework is not a horrible experience. Yet. That'll come later, I know. He gets on the bus smiling, and steps off smiling. In between he is in the hands of this women I have barely met, and he feels safe. Challenged. And happy.
I've read so many posts on how hard the school experience is on working parents. I read them, and in these first weeks am already living what is described there, and it's not easy. Meetings are not scheduled with working parents in mind, they really aren't. SAHM's lurk at every gathering trying to peer pressure you into volunteering your soul to the PTA, seemingly judging you when you don't or can't. Tell them you work, and you feel like a spotlight suddenly shines down on you and everyone is staring in shocked disbelief that you dare not be there for your children! Precious little notice is given on upcoming events making planning around work harder than rocket science. While I've seen this side, I also see another side. A really great teacher stuck in the middle trying to help teach and mold my guy. She is a mother herself, dealing with these same issues for her kids. Not only does she also have to juggle work and family, she has to be present for conferences, meet the teacher, etc. both for her students and for her own kids. In 2 or 3 places at once.
This woman takes in 20-25 5 and 6 year olds with no idea what to do when dropped into her classroom. She has to lead them, direct them, comfort them and assess them. Immediately. She has to lay down the law. And she has to keep their attention. All. Day. Long. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. If they are not all challenged, they are bored. Then they get into trouble. Some went to preschool, some did not. They are all at different learning levels. They are all looking to her to help them.
My son really likes his teacher. He says she's very nice. He responds well to loving authority, clear boundaries enforced with kind firmness. He cannot be allowed to get bored, or you've lost him and will struggle to get him back. I doubt he's unique in this. There are 14 boys in his class. 14 Boys. Think about that. 14 boys who get silly at a moment's notice. 14 boys who get physical at all times, struggle to contain that boundless energy and direct it towards the task at hand. This woman is hiding a superhero cape under her clothes!!! When he had to have a sub one day already, the boy that has never met a teach her didn't like announced she was not nice like HIS teacher. He already feels a loyalty to her, and trusts her.
So, to our beloved teacher, and to all the other teachers out there...THANK YOU. Thank you for making me feel like my guy is the center of your universe, too, even though you have so much on your plate. Thank you for keeping him challenged, in line, and learning. Thank you for your patience as they try to master these new lessons. Thank you for patiently answering our questions, and those of all the other parents you have, as though we are the only ones asking. Thank you for being a working Mom yourself, even though many parents forget that. Thank you for making his transition to school smooth, positive, and happy. It has set the tone for years to come, and the benefits of this beatiful beginning will last his lifetime.
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