Jason's Untimely Thoughts

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Meet the Teacher

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Tonight was meet the teacher night at good old Grant School.  Adelaide and Jack were both fired up about finding out their teacher, seeing which friends were in their class, choosing their desks, and so on.  It was pretty much all we talked about yesterday and today, before walking up the street at 4:30.

We had a pretty solid tip on which class Jack was going to be in.  I’d shared with Adelaide that he would be in the same class she’d had for first grade, but we decided to keep it a surprise for him.  He was going to be pleased with any of the three teachers, he agreed, but he was really hoping for Mrs. Williams.  (Almost certainly because that’s who Adelaide had, although she did a wonderful service to me of watching out for him in kindergarten.)

Adelaide had decided she didn’t care at all which of the teachers she had.  She liked them both and was going to be pleased either way.   She spent much more time wondering which of her friends would be where, and whether she’d be lucky enough to again have her bestest friend in the same class.  They had met just prior to kindergarten and had been in the same class every year.   Although she did let slip that she hoped she and bestest friend would be in the same class until they were 30, she finally decided that she had four really good friends and she’d be happy with any combination.

Sometime late this afternoon she told me she hoped that two (any two) of her friends were in her class, the other two were in the other class.  She said she didn’t think it would be fair if they were all in the same class together.  I’m not sure why, thinking back, but it struck me as a very selfless sentiment.  I was proud of her thinking it through and coming to a wish that involved sharing, even if it was only sharing to her.

So this afternoon, the plan was for Jack & I to go to his room, she could run ahead to the 3rd grade rooms to choose the desk she wanted.  We made a quick stop at the lists, lucky enough that our names tend to be at the top of the alphabetical sort, so the kids just saw who their teachers were.  Both were pleased and were off to their rooms.

I lingered just a bit to see if Adelaide’s luck was holding up with bestest friend, to discover they’d be separated for the first time.  Sad, but not terribly surprising.  A quick glance didn’t show me many more familiar names, but I had to run to catch up to Jack.  While Adelaide went on upstairs, I went to Jack’s classroom and helped him get settled.  Adelaide’s bestest was in their with her brother, who was going to sit next to Jack.  Another friend came along soon enough on the other side, and he was pleased pleased.

I started to pick up hints that Adelaide might not be as pleased in her class, so left Jack there and ran to look at the list again.  I went upstairs, worried about what state of mind she’d be in, to find her happily searching for the perfect desk location.  I helped her put away her things a bit, then asked if she’d looked at the class list.  We walked over there and I watched her crumble as she discovered that none of the four she’d hoped for were in her class.  The poor kid was heartbroken.

She spent the next hour trying to put away her things, trying not to talk to anyone (even her friends), and trying not to cry.  She was only successful at the first two of those things.  We talked a lot, her new teacher and her old teacher both talked to her, and she does have friends in the class.  In all, it will be an opportunity for her to expand, but that’s not a very fun explanation to try to give.

Her spirits have started to pick up, after dinner she was no longer saying she didn’t want to go to school anymore, and she seems to have accepted the situation — at least for tonight.  She’s still heartbroken, but was almost looking forward to going again by bedtime.  I still feel bad for the kid.  I try to not let the kids say “it’s not fair” as that simply doesn’t matter very often.  But damn it was hard for me to not walk to school later tonight (or early in the morning) and see if we couldn’t do something to make her a touch happier.  And on that point, it’s clear why they do Meet the Teacher night as late as possible before school starts.

Maybe the overarching point is that it doesn’t matter nearly as much where you sit or what you do, but that you do it with your friends.  But really the overarching point is that I just feel bad for her, wish I could do something to help, and hope she is happy with it by tomorrow morning.

** and she really does have friends in her class, just not the four she hangs out with the most.

Written by Jason Becking

August 17th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

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