Thursday, June 14, 2012

Irony Goes to Summer School

The good news is that the summer school program this year is shaping up to be an exponentially better experience than last year's.
  • The teacher is from the school he just spent two years attending, as opposed to a teacher from out-of-state. The kids know her and she knows most of the kids. Nice!
  • The classroom is nicely set up and already had the a/c on, as opposed to last year's dark room that felt like a big broom closet. I had to make a stink to get the a/c turned on for James, and I had already communicated that heat really affects him adversely.
  • The desks were already clearly labeled and set up for the class, as well as the cubbies. Last year's seating was a bit of a free-for-all and the masking tape with their names soon peeled off the cubbies and were never replaced.
  • The childrens' worksheets had been already neatly prepared in folders with their names on it.  Last year's programs had sheets ripped out of several different workbooks at the beginning of a work circle and were not appropriate for what James had been working on.
  • All James' papers and sensory diet items were waiting for him in the classroom the first day of our arrival; only his chair made it last year, and they didn't know it was his until I mentioned it and asked that it be made available for James.
  • Best of all, the older kids have their own classroom this year, so it's not 1 room for grades K-5.

James no longer cringes from summer school. He'd still prefer 2nd grade, but he's a happy guy going into class this summer. The irony comes in 2 parts.

Number 1: Out of our 2 kids, James is the confident, outgoing one. Everyone is his friend and for the most part he sails fearlessly to new campuses and groups of people. This morning, his 3rd of summer session, after Pink-Eye, a 1000+ mile road trip, and the flu, he raced ahead of me to his class door. I encouraged him to open it, and he was greeted with a chorus of "Hi, James!" In he went, with a big grin. I never made it to the portable's ramp. I think back to the years of struggling to get my daughter to school -- the tears, late arrivals, and severe anxiety and feel a mixture of frustration and wry amusement.

Number 2: James' summer school teacher is THE teacher I'd longed to have for my daughter. I really admired her organizational style and teaching expectations and delivery. My daughter had a different teacher for 1st grade who ended up being the perfect teacher for her. I will be forever grateful for the confidence and zest for learning that she nutured in my daughter. No regrets there, but my daughter never got the teacher who first caught my eye, so to speak. Because this teacher tended to teach at a more advanced level, I never even thought of her as a teacher for James. Yet here she is, redeeming my opinion of summer school and teaching James, not his sister.

Life is funny, I tell ya.

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