I sat down to write this post this morning but decided to wait until I cooled off a little from our drop off experience. I’m not going to rehash everything that happened but basically it was just a disorganized mess in a negative environment and neither Josh nor I got to walk either boy even a step into the school, let alone into their classroom. I know a lot of people will read that last sentence and think I’m silly to be angry over the fact that we didn’t get to take our kids into the school but the first day of school has always been a family event. Our kids are 5 and 7 and I don’t think it’s too ridiculous to expect that I be able take my boys to see where they’ll be spending 30+ hours a week for the next nine months.
Anyway, both boys were champs and, as usual, didn’t cry, complain or otherwise worry about how their day would be. They kissed me goodbye (Josh was stuck in a traffic jam outside of the school so he barely got to say goodbye as the boys and I jumped out of the van to avoid being late), gave one last wave as I watched them walk into the building and were set for the day. The first day of school is kind of old news for Parker and I but as I watched Theo, whom I still refer to as my baby, turn around for that one last blown kiss and wave I welled up with tears. I can’t believe he is in Kindergarten.
I made it back to the van before my emotions got the best of me and I broke down on Josh crying and telling him how I can’t wait to never send my guys back to this school. He calmed me down the same way he calms the boys down when they get sad and drove straight to Dunkin’ Donuts 🙂
In order for the Kindergarteners to become acclimated to a new school, they were permitted early dismissal today so I was back at the school to pick Theo up at 11:30. He was all smiles and immediately told me that he had had such a great day. He said “It was just like Kiddie College” (his Pre K in Texas) “and my teacher is nice and none of the kids have bad behavior!” haha He said his favorite time of the day was eating lunch at school and he can’t wait until they get to have recess and art class. He also thanked me for packing an ice pack in his lunch box because “my head ended up hurting!” The sweet thing thought I packed him an ice pack incase he got hurt rather than to keep his lunch cool. Love him!
Parker’s day was a different story. 3rd grade was let out at the regular time so we had to load up and head back to the school to pick him up. When the doors opened I saw his teacher for the first time and was excited to see a pleasant looking younger woman. Last year, Parker’s teacher was finishing up her final year before retirement so I equated her grumpiness to her circumstance. I assumed, based on his new teacher’s looks and demeanor that she was a sweet and friendly lady but according to Parker’s account of how the day went, I was wrong. I’m not going to recount everything he said but basically he feels that she is worse than last year’s teacher. He didn’t seem upset the way he did last year so I considered that he was exaggerating it but Josh pointed out that perhaps he is just becoming calloused to the gruffness that goes along with living in NY. I just want to take one second to point out that this is a sweeping generalization of New Yorkers. When we lived in Cape May, I became close to one of the nicest, funniest, most giving people I’ve ever met and she’s born and raised Staten Island. After talking to Parker further, I ultimately believe that Josh is right. Plus, odds are that Parker’s being completely honest when you look at the fact that he’s had 9 teachers throughout three different schools (and states) and he has only ever disliked or even spoken negatively about two of any of them – both in NY.
One thing that happened today really pisses me off. Parker was scolded for the first time in his four years of schooling and it was over something absolutely ridiculous. He stands when he does his work. He has always done this and he has never gotten in trouble for it before because 1. He’s not hurting/bothering any other children 2. Other teachers have respected that this is how he focuses. Apparently this teacher does not. The thing that pisses me off is that according to Parker, she didn’t ask him why he was standing or even just simply say, Parker please sit down, but instead she raised her voice and said “Sit down in your seat Parker. We don’t have enough room for that here!” I’ll be the first to say that I yell at my kids. I lose my patience and raise my voice, probably too often but there is no reason why this should have been the case for this woman. Parker is such a good kid. He’s a rule follower and a people pleaser and he was ashamed to have the attention of the class directed towards him in a negative way. I can remember learning about Montessori approaches during my education classes in college and something as simple as standing while working (or chewing gum or listening to music) can be helpful for some kids in a classroom setting. While I get that NYC public schools aren’t Montessori schools (furthest thing from it), I can’t accept that Parker presented a reason where scolding him was necessary. On a positive note, the boy whom Parker made the closest friendship with last year is once again in his class so he’s happy about that. He also has a separate Science class which he already loves after the first day.
So at the end of day one of Kindergarten and 3rd grade I’d say we’re doing pretty okay. Hopefully things get better for Parker but in the meantime Josh and I are going to try and strongly focus on the positive things about his school and maybe we can trick him into believing it. 😉