Start of School

It’s different now.  It used to be that when our chlorine laden bathing suits dried one last time on the back lawn chairs, we tucked our  sunglasses away in our drawers in favor of the gloves.   As we rolled up our slip and slide, The final chapter of summer was obvious.    Summer’s sun dipped down in the sky a wee bit earlier each night,  colder air kicked up the smell of once green leaves.   The pavement smelled of the first rain.   That’s  when a little excitement brewed.    It was time for new shoes and new pencils.    It was almost the day to check  who claims who, what teacher wants you.  That’s when you knew you had to do it.  You went to the backpack and retrieved the crumpled math dittos and that smooshed sandwhich that resembled anything but peanut butter.

When the school put the teacher listings outside the classrooms people surface.      Forgotten friends a little taller packed the playground once again a school of slithering fish, shouldering the way to the front of the window-Did we at least get the fun teacher?    Oh well there’s always gym.

There are the years that are just bummer years, down the shoot years, teacher illness perpetual sub, the guy that should have retired and hates kids now.       Looking back at my kids school career I can clearly see, the power that kindergarten teachers truly have in deciding your kids fate.  There are two paths down the shoot or up the ladder.  Why I have yet to open a school for boys perplexes me.

Another year another trip to Target.   A fresh pack of crayolas is like new hope.   New school means new.  New arrangements of the same.  New excitement for the ordinary;  for new pencils and new shoes.  school means cheese sticks and pudding cups,  and cramming your feet into stiff shiny shoes ending up with banddaids on your heels.     It was time to sharpen a stack of pencils to mentally prepare for math class, hoping the smell of fresh wood would trigger a new happiness for fractions and integers     You always felt sheepish about the abundance of erasers you had in your pencil pouch and secretly wondered did that have any bearing on where you were smart or not?       If you saw a teacher from your school shopping at the store it was like seeing princess Kate of England.    If you saw your friends dad for the first time,  it rivaled that equally christmas-like feeling of newness and anticipation, all the fresh worlds you were creating, the budding friendships starting school was like meeting a your new puppy and finding out some days were unpleasant.

By first grade your mom was onto them.    She was asking more questions.  She learned something.    They have them pegged from the first seat on the carpet at story time to the last nose picking they do in the lunch line.    I’m convinced she told your dad, their path, the entire 12 years is dictated by the decision of who they were appointed at first grade.    Will they be stamped like chocolates on a conveyor belt X down the shoot, their fates predetermined,  seconds farmed off to discount stores,  or will the be filtered upwards to the fine chocolates,   sent up the up the ladder always getting the best teachers?


This year despite all those moms that bragged and boasted about the gifted classes your mom decided to test you anyway.    Even though when she heard the talk from “those moms-that surge of acid came up her throat. ”  She heard it haunting her in her sleep their mouths like a slow motion horror film playing the same haunting line.  “my child is not challenged”

One thing I know from sending two kids through the public school system.  Teaching is impossible job and should not be the sole burden of the teacher.     The parent is the first teacher.    Pretty girls don’t get called on.   Education is all relative, some escaped being refugees, some have cultural road blocks some are paying more attention to the pangs of hunger in their stomaches or the tremendous pressures to succeed so they can buy their family a dinner table that they can do their homework on.     Many have never attended plays, rode bikes, been on a soccer team g plays, it was going skiing and playing soccer.     plays or music, or soccer matches.    She kept you in the excructately average experience of public school and despite feeling like PE could really use an overhaul much the same as Math curriculum,  you played the game nicely….. You kept well rounded in school involvement,  balanced your social circle with a few nerdy friends, a few popular and few you cannot dismiss for fear they’ll go awol and since they live on your block….. You’ve learned a lot since BOB books and molding clay on your desk into your name….You learned some personalities that are even keel fly under the radar and pretty girls may often get overlooked as being potentially smart and  looking distracted and in perpetual daydreamer mode does not necessarily mean you get called on but the teacher must have a plan getting that same kid to answer it’s not personal just be your number one teacher’s pet and don’t compare and you’ll get our with one of those square hats on and go far.

As a mom, I suspect the earliest teachers have you pegged, your path is preset.     They have made assumptions on your behalf and it follows you, X down the shoot or A, up the ladder.   I’ve observed that pretty girls don’t get called on or perhaps the teachers feel they need attention or have brains?   Teacher maybe don’t feel they need help with random selection participation, despite that fragile egos are blooming or shriveling under their wand.     I suppose more high schools like my son’s have finally called out yes even you average people are excel in one subject even if that is detention own your gift, for my son, the one who was slotted early down the shoot, by 12th grade they finally saw the one class he loves to attended and dubbed him Gifted in History.   The other teachers those lucky enough to surface to the top as cream, have a tough job, teaching highly capable kids……this means they can teach better fewer discipline problems and stronger dose of I matter to these kids instead of “if I could just follow this kid home and take this lesson to the dinner table the one that they don’t own.   that is not a good indicator of the idiots you’ll be working with.   on awol demanding home schooling , you held your average ground and were finally “discovered” and now sit in those harder classes, probably just for curiosities sake.  Right next to that brainiac kid who “never felt challenged”   the one whose exceptionally socially deficient.

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