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Last night, I received an email from my son’s kindergarten teacher.  Now, this is the third child, thus the third time that I have done this whole communicate with the teacher thing.  This is the third time that I have started the year off with excitement for what the new year has to bring.  This is the third time, okay not really the third time as each of my two others had first days of school for at least 12 consecutive years, but, this is the third child and I am used to this.  So, an email from the teacher after only the second day of school is no surprise.

The class needs something, the kids need something, the school needs something.  I need to do something because the parents need to be involved for the good of the school, for the good of the class, for the good of the child.  These emails are normal.  I am used to it.  I have been a bit tired of it but, I understand and I am used to starting the year off with receiving a list of contributions that must be made to the school on behalf of each student’s family in order that the school operate appropriately and the children receive the best education possible. 

I am used to it all and I am sick of it all.  I am sick of the failure of the powers-that-be to recognize the importance of a solid educational structure for the development of the future leaders, teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, motivational speakers of the world.  I am sick of the sacrifice of art for math or the lack of foreign language education at the primary levels which opens a world (literally) of opportunity for the children.  I am sick of complaining about and cutting the salaries of, probably the most (absolutely most) valuable profession which exists.  After all, where would any of us be without our educators (the good ones)?  I am sick of teachers and schools having to reduce themselves to beggars to get the involvement of the parents and additional funds to support the activities of the classroom.  I am sick of parents having to become telemarketers soliciting on behalf of the class/the school.  I am sick of it all but, I understand it as the “cost of doing business”…okay,  “the cost of educating” a child where budgets place priorities elsewhere.

Last night, I received an email from my son’s teacher at 10:20 p.m.  I will not lie.  In the past, I would often ignore these emails…putting them off until I am ready to visit its request.  I had already volunteered to take some time off of work to help with picture day.  I had already reviewed the weekly…yes, I said weekly, newsletter.  I had already been inundated with beginning of school activities/requests/paperwork and it had been a long day.  I should have already been asleep but, a telephone call with a friend had me up later than usual and because I have been so excited about this school and this teacher and this experience, I did not ignore that email.  Last night, at 10:20 p.m., I received this email from my son’s teacher: 

First Day of Kindergarten

Dear parents,

Here are a few pictures from the first days:
students from [class] (to help everybody remember the names!)
pictures from the garden
first days of school (lunch in class, activities in the class)

Have a good night,

[Teacher]

I have been impressed every step of the way with The Boy’s new school.  I was impressed when I received a package in the middle of the summer that included the class roster and directory along with a letter explaining that it was being sent at that time in order to allow for families to connect during the summer.  By arranging playdates with fellow classmates, the children would start school with some familiar faces, making the transition easier.  I was impressed with the welcome day and the invitation to a class picnic to be held at the end of the first week of school.  I was impressed with the morning coffee/tea gathering for parents on the first day of school.  I was impressed. 

AM impressed. 

Right as I was thinking about how great it would be to be able to add photos of his first day of school activities to my collection of first-day-of-school photos; right when I accepted that I did not have a way to be a fly on the wall for that day, or any day, I received that email.  I received a glimpse of my child, a glimpse of his energy on that day, a glimpse of his joy for his class, a glimpse of his involvement with his classmates. 

And, it all came together for me.  On that first day, when I picked up my son from school, I asked, “how was your day?”  He responded, “It was wonderful!” and by the looks of it, I am sure that was not an exaggeration.

On the first day of school, as I waited outside of the boy’s bathroom for my son to relieve his nerves, I heard a passing parent say to another, “C’est un autre chapitre!” (This is another chapter)  And, oh how right she was!

Start of something grand.

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