As I often seem to do, here's something of an aside before I get to the heart of things. Junie. B. Jones. Is amazing. And the person who put this together deserves some extra credit, and I mean it! (That was a direct quote. If you didn't know that, please do yourself the favor and go read those books pronto. That means super quick.)
That's kinda sorta leading into what I was going to jabber about anyway, which is to say K-I-D-S. Namely, all of the kids that my 6-year old rubs shoulders with. I have this thing where I find myself agreeing to all sorts of hoopla and shenanigans without really processing what I'm doing first. This led me to spending 1 1/2 hours with hilarious little nutballs once a week during this thing called "centers."
What are "centers?" Apparently, over the last 25 years, teacher people have all banded together and thought "How can we test the ever living patience of parents even more than helping them learn to read?" (which is and of itself a trying, trying time when your child would OH SO MUCH rather listen to you read in your fabulous character voices...frankly, I agree with her - my voices are sa-weet). The solution to this conundrum was to shanghai a handful of well-intentioned motherly souls ('cause there just aren't enough fatherly souls hanging around their houses with their feet propped up while sipping perfect mugs of coffee and binging on Netflix, it seems) to come into the classroom to work with groups of 3-4 students on various reading and math skills.
It turns out that this is the very reason why I believe in public education. Not everyone has the sheer audacity to be perky and positive for hours, every single weekday. Bless the souls who give it their all for childs everywhere.
(In all truthiness, the boy and I are both licensed, sometimes practicing, public school teachers. When considering schooling and homeing and everything in between for The Elder, we ultimately decided that we need to stick with what we believe in, namely public school. Never once have we regretted that. Plus, one of us - either The Elder or me - would no doubt be weeping and yelling vindictive things at the other every single day if we duked it out at home over elementary math and writing, and I try not to do that with my kids. Homeschooling parents - I adore you. Public school teachers - I adore you, too. You're all pretty fabulous to me.)
So we just wrapped up the last centers time of the year yesterday, and (I kid you not), one kid looked at me in the middle of our activity and said "You're A's mom, right?" I mean. What?!? I've only known you for 35 weeks; let's not get too hasty in getting to know each other.
(Sidenote: The Younger's rest time has been over for 15 minutes, and she has come out of her room about 3 times to say random things like "Mom, why were you just standing up?" [I wasn't] and "I love you," and "Dinosaur!!!" Not once during that time has she thought to check the clock apparently. Sucker.)
Back to the elementary set. They seem to function as one 20-armed amoeba creature, either all UP UP UP or all rellllaxxxx and chilllllll. There's no in between. ("Amoeba" is a fun word, especially if you pronounce it as am-O-E-ba as I want to do.) But here's the most obvious truth that I've uncovered from this heart-on-their-sleeves lot of ragamuffins.
(Sidenote again: The Younger must have heard me thinking about her. I think she broke out now.)
These kids. You can predict all sorts of predictions about them already. You can pretty much identify the ones that are likely to always skate by in general English classes, content to be mediocre. You can pick out the ones that are going to be bored in Chemistry, which will mean that they play games on their phones instead. You can even figure out which ones are going to be the mean kids someday, not that they are now but you see the tendencies already.
But, likewise, you identify the ones that you dearly, dearly hope your kid understands will be a true friend for the long-haul. You determine the ones that will be coming over to your house on weekends and to drive your child to band practice. You see natural aptitudes already apparent for math, science and English.
Truly, it will be fascinating to sit at their high school graduation someday and do some remembering about what they were like when they were just yay-high and always waved "hello" and "good-bye" to you when they saw you. This is very likely the only year that I will engage in such concentrated one-on-one time with my daughters' classmates, so in some respects, it's been a special time. But on the other hand, if I never have to remind two boys to stop throwing dice against the wall and then to stop falling off of their chairs to chase it, it will be too soon.
Cheers to a good year, to all those who find yourselves in an educator's role and to all of those who have accidentally or otherwise found yourself even a wee bit more educated. I love this whole process.