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Looking Forward: Fall 2019

September 5, 2019

Last fall had a quite rocky start for my kids.

Rocky enough that at the end of September, my two dear officemates gave me a care package with bubbles, a small stuffed bunny, and other goodies after I had cried several times each week, unsure of how to help my kids and hurting to see them confused and upset.

This fall:  my word is “optimistic.”

I’m optimistic about my students (always), my new officemates, a new classroom shared with a lovely colleague.  I’m trying to surround myself with more positivity to counteract last May and June’s bitterness, and to take the sting out of missing my friends who have had to find jobs elsewhere.

The kids’ school has a “Taking Care of Business” night the week before school starts, where staff hand out and collect all the paperwork (so much paperwork) like emergency contact forms, medical forms, etc.  Once the forms are submitted, the kids find out who their teachers are.

Our kids are split into three classes this year.  Ultimately, this might kill me–three sets of homework assignments, three schedules, three contacts, three different deadlines–but that night, watching the kids race to their classrooms and be so excited about who their respective teachers were, I knew we made the right call and that the staff placed each kid with the right teacher for him or her.

Despite said optimism, I was still highly anxious on the first day of school.  As I drove to my own school, a litany of shoulds ran through my mind:  “I should have put notes in their lunchboxes. I should have told them it’s okay to have challenging moments. I should have told them we just want them to do their best. I should have bought more apples for Jamie’s lunch.

But then they got off the bus after school, elated and buoyant. “I got a Dragon Slip for my good attitude!” shouted Jamie.  “My teacher is so funny!” shouted Audrey.  Theresa hugged me tight and said she had had a good day.  My heart relaxed.

And even with the homework and increased expectations (they’re third graders now, people) and my own insecurities about have I taught them enough personal responsibility?, the school year is made better by the following:

  • the special ed. teacher who a) met with us the Friday before school started, and b) brought in a box of our autistic kid’s favorite books for them to read, just because.
  • Theresa’s teacher, who ended her parent e-mail this way:  “This is a great class. I’m so thrilled that I am your child’s teacher. I really mean that.”
  • Jamie’s teacher, who wrote this in response to my “Grown-up Homework” e-mail to tell her about our child:  “I lucked out getting Jamie, he has so many interesting thoughts to share! Love that kid already!”
  • Audrey’s teacher, who has yet to assign homework (thank goodness!).
  • and our dear friend Cleo, who texted me this:  “I am just about to put a “first day of 3rd grade” apple crisp in the oven. Do you know anyone who might like such a thing? DELIVERY INCLUDED.”

It’s going to be a good year.



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