September 23, 2010

Things I Learned At Back To School Night

Mia, Beth and I attended Back To School night at Mia's elementary school last night. Here's what I learned.

1. I am way too small for those little kindergarten chairs.

2. All art rooms smell exactly the same. It was a good smell that I haven't smelled in a very long time.

3. I am not allowed to play the marimbas.

4. Teachers are now apparently required to be roughly half my age.

5. Miniature bathrooms in which all the facilities are correspondingly miniature make me feel about eleven feet tall.

6. Two weeks in and Mia completely rules the school. She seemingly knows absolutely everyone regardless of age. And if this were some sort of little person prison they would all be her bitches.

I remember very little about elementary school. My elementary school was unevenly divided. The first portion - kindergarten through third grade - was at the baby jesus school. I had to memorize Bible verses and recite them each Friday. The only thing I learned there was that I didn't like memorizing Bible verses or reciting them. I wasn't so keen on the greedy bigots who ran the school (and still do, having turned it into one of the nation's leading megachurches) either. At the start of fourth grade, I moved to public school. Best decision ever except that while teaching all about the baby jesus the teachers at my previous school had managed to forget to teach me anything about math or science. I had some catching up to do. Luckily I had two hard-ass teachers in fourth and fifth grade who helped me do just that. I was a member of the safety patrol, played Charlie's Angels with Brian, Brent and Carrie (I was always fucking Bosley), and discovered music (initially Journey who I was a little skeptical about since they were, to my ears, very heavy).

What kind of kid were you in elementary school? And what are your most vivid memories?

Posted by Chris at September 23, 2010 7:31 AM

I don't remember much about elementary school either. I went to a public elementary. I had the same teacher for 1st and 3rd grades and she became a friend of our family. She was Jewish and invited us to her wedding, which was pretty cool. I also remember that our school was trying out this new program, where students worked at their own pace and own level. There were these boxes in each subject and you pulled the card for the lesson and moved along. I did great in English, reading, spelling. But bombed in math and science. I blame that system for my inadequacies in math and science. I was never taught anything until 5th grade when the district realized the system wasn't working and went back to traditional teaching. Too late for me by then, I didn't even know my times tables and still add on my fingers.
Also I took bologna and mustard sandwiches for lunch every day until 7th grade.

Posted by: Lisa at September 23, 2010 8:06 AM

I think I was a pretty well-liked elementary school kid but I was definitely the over-achiever. I got all As, was a hall monitor, and I was THAT annoying kid who crazily raised her hand to answer questions. But I remember so many good times: playing Oregon Trail on ancient computers (this was probably in 1985-88 or so), learning to play the recorder, and - oddly enough - neon colored shoe laces that I'd exchange with friend so we all had two different colors on our shoes.

Posted by: Claire at September 23, 2010 8:48 AM

In school, much like I am now, I think I was kind of neutral. I was friends with most everyone and generally liked. I certainly wasn't popular - if there was a prison, I'd have no bitches - but because I was (and am) friendly to pretty much everyone, I got along with most people.

My third grader is a lot like me in her behavior at school - she's friendly, people like her, and teachers generally like her. A lot.

We had back to school night for both girls this week (3rd grade and kindergarten) - and it's amazing how YOUNG my daughter's kindergarten teacher was. My husband asked for her background and when she said she got her degree in 2004, I was like.. dang. She's just a baby! (But so far, she's a great teacher. I'm just bitter because I'm old)

Posted by: Sarah at September 23, 2010 9:16 AM

I was a good kid. Straight A's and well liked by teachers. I'm also a teacher's kid so I think that doesn't hurt. I liked school, it was fun. Except for 4th grade math and 6th grade hormones, every day was a party to me.

Posted by: Brad at September 23, 2010 9:31 AM

I was a nervous child. Adults scared me. I remember falling head over heels for my second grade teacher because she was so nice. Even today I think she made the most impact on me.

Posted by: Maribeth at September 23, 2010 9:35 AM

I was painfully shy all all through Elementary School. My most vivid memory was when my best friend and I were on safety patrol one afternoon in the 6th grade. I climbed a tree (WTF?), scooted out onto a branch, and it BROKE. 25 years later, we still laugh about that day.

Posted by: Kristy at September 23, 2010 9:44 AM

I was exactly like my son. I'm afraid for him :) I was and always will be a geek. I've never had a lot of friends, and didn't then, but I didn't have enemies either. I was anxious about doing well to the point of getting stomach aches on the day of every test. I loved school!

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 23, 2010 10:23 AM

OMG - You didn't go to the Oasis of Love did you? (Now of course know as Lakewood Church with Mr. Ostean Jr.)

Posted by: Heather at September 23, 2010 10:31 AM

If you were always Bosley, who were Brian and Brent? And who would you rather have been? Just saying . . .

Posted by: Pegnandy at September 23, 2010 11:08 AM

i was a weird little kid. i was very avant-garde; i would wear bathing suits and roller skates around the neighborhood. but i was also a year younger than everyone else in my grade. in K-12, that was my social saving grace. when people got cliquey or mean, they never took it out on me. it was like there was some kind of pact to look out for the little kid. i was lucky.

Posted by: magnolia at September 23, 2010 11:51 AM

We had this conversation before, about high school. Elementary school, like high school, is like yesterday to me. I went to a baby Jesus school too, from K-8, but I don't mind because I am a baby Jesus freak. But anyway, I was the teachers' and principal's pet and a really great student. I was a tomboy and liked to play football on the playground in the fall, baseball in the spring. My school was really small, so by the time I was in 7th grade, there were no students in the 8th grade, and when I graduated from there in 1988, there were 8 of us. We are pretty much all friends on Facebook and catching up again. Two of my classmates are dating again. When I was in 5th grade, there was one kid in 6th grade, so we were called "Fifth and Andy". My regular teacher was on maternity leave, so the principal took our class for the year. We spent a lot of time going out to lunch and doing fun things and I'm not sure I learned a lot. In the fall, I was invited to be in the church play, and two of my classmates and I had the lead roles and practiced our scenes during school time, and then the youth minister would take us for Slurpees at the 7-11. When I got to high school, I was OK academically, but I never learned to write a critical paper, so I almost flunked out of honors English my Freshman year, but then we got an assignment about the biblical book of Genesis and I *nailed* it and saved my grade.

Posted by: Brooke at September 23, 2010 12:03 PM

I was the "freak" in elementary school. I had to miss my 2nd grade year for open heart surgery and when I came back, with my scars, noone wanted to talk to me...they were scared of me. I was very shy and geeky then--my how the shyness faded; still a geek--and was pretty much a loner. I was at a Catholic school with uniforms but my mother pushed for the pants for girls because when I was playing with others it was climbing trees and playing football with the boys, not exactly appropriate in the uniform jumper.

Posted by: Krush at September 23, 2010 12:28 PM

Dad was a college professor, so was always bummed that when I was in his class, I could use pens, and in school had to use pencils. Also didn't understand why we didn't discuss the philosophical underpinnings of _why_ Dick and Jane ran. But despite all that school was fine.

The thing I keep driving into my kids is that this is their opportunity; that education is the great equalizer, and that all the little decisions they make ( study, not study ) are the switches along the road to their big dreams.

Also, get involved in the PTA; great way to get to really know the school and teachers, and nothing better than the teachers and principal knowing your name and recognizing your kids. The more involved you ( or Beth so you by proxy ) gets, the better the overall experience for the kids will be.

OK, getting off the soapbox.

Posted by: metawizard at September 23, 2010 2:49 PM

I remember the tire swing from the 3rd grade playground...and how dizzy I would make myself!

Posted by: Heather at September 23, 2010 4:33 PM

I went to catholic school for 1st through 8th grade. I think I loved it. The education was good. The fact that I did and still do suck at math had nothing to do with their teaching because I was always bouncing back and forth between the smart math group and the dumb one. But ask me to diagram a sentence? HooBoy I can still do that today!
I have a twin so we were "the twins". The little blondies. We had the same 40 or so kids for 8 years so we were all pretty close.
At our 8th grade ceremony I was given the award of "My Affair Lady". That probably tells you all you need to know right?

Posted by: NancyJ at September 24, 2010 6:56 AM

What kind of kid I was? Shy, shy, SHY. Vividest memory: Refusing to get out of the car one kindergarten morning because I DIDN'T WANT TO GO IN TO SCHOOL. Kind of a contrast with Mia, huh? Thank your lucky stars, Chris!

Posted by: JW at September 24, 2010 6:42 PM