Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of School, Quick Notes Before I Crash Out

The Mermaid Girl had her first day of school today and it was ONE HOUR LONG. Poor kid ;-) There's a strict union-imposed limit on class sizes, but they also have to take everyone who registers from within the catchment area even up through the first week of school, so basically it takes them all week to assign and balance the class lists.

Today all the returning kids went to their old classes for the day, and the 17 or 18 new kids of all ages were all in a classroom together with the Head Teacher, who totally has it going on: she had everybody's number within about five minutes, including and especially the one compulsively bouncy and interruptive kid (there's always one). She handed out Flubber for them to play with while she talked about the rules and basic orientation stuff, then collected the flubber and led us all, kids and parents, on a tour of the school, finishing up in the gym where they played with a parachute until dismissal at 10:00.

Kindergarten had their own orientation today but actually they don't even *start* until next week. (In Seattle they plunge everybody into a full day of school first thing. Full-day kindergarten and everything. The works. This seems so gentle and low-key by comparison.)

Tomorrow is a full school day, but the new kids will still be in their temporary one-room schoolhouse classroom while the staff continues to work things out. It's bizarre, but not bad, I guess. MG likes the head teacher, and there's another new girl going into Grade 2. Within the one hour today I saw my girl go from shy and clingy to eager and somewhat confident: raising her hand to answer questions, getting permission to run back to the classroom and get her sneakers when they went to the gym. And when I ventured to mention this afternoon that parents probably wouldn't be allowed to stay the whole time tomorrow, as we did today, she gave me a scornful look and said, "No, because you're too OLD."

A few more notes:

1. It was pouring rain this morning but we put on our rain jackets and all walked the five blocks down the hill to school together anyway. RW and I are happy, happy, happy about the short walk to school; it's like something out of an old-fashioned picture book, complete with blackberry bushes along the path. Though the uphill walk home is indeed very steep and seems about five times as long as going there.

1a. I lagged behind putting my keys away as we headed down the driveway, and looked up to see RW and MG walking through the rain picturesquely ahead of me, MG holding her pink umbrella and hefting her pink Hello Kitty backpack and wearing her pink rainboots and the blue poncho that RW crocheted for her that's been her first-day-of-school outerwear of choice every year since kindergarten. It would've made a great photo, but the camera was somewhere inaccessible in the depths of my backpack, so it will just have to live in memory.

2. About halfway to the school, a boy on a bike swooped out out of his driveway and down the hill ahead of us. I thought he looked a little old to be going to elementary school, but I'd forgotten the schools here go through Grade 7. And indeed he showed up in the new kids' classroom; he's in Grade 7 but it's his first year ever of school; he was homeschooled before this. He seemed like a nice kid, and I liked his mom, too.

I mentioned to her that we were looking for an older kid to walk MG to and/or from school sometimes if we can't, and she introduced me to her son during a transition time in the hall and mentioned that I might need someone to walk my daughter to school.

He looked dubious. "Well," he said, "I'd really like to ride my bike..."

"Of course, we'd pay," I said, and he brightened considerably and agreed that in that case it'd be worth it.

Score! Now we just have to figure out how much to pay him. Suggestions welcome.


Blogger nyjlm said...

WTG MG! I remember my first day in the new kid class in Starrett City. Yikes. So terrified. Glad MG had a good day.
and yay for nice neighbor boys who can walk you to school!

7:41 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Hooray MG!!!

Re: the walker. Hmmm....would five bucks a walk be reasonable?

9:35 PM  
Anonymous MonkeyPants said...

Exciting for MG!

Also, about the wait times before she gets a classroom, when I taught in Burnaby, schools were hiring teachers like mad up to a week after school officially started. Sometimes it means very small class sizes, depending on how things balance out.

9:51 PM  

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