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? Continue reading