Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dancing in the Driveway

What a difference a year makes! It is day 4 of the new school year. Both girls in new schools with (much, much) earlier and different start times; riding the bus instead of walking; making new friends every day. There have been tears, anxiety and some sad and lonely days but there has also been a sense of calmness and order that was missing in many ways at their old school. We all have adjusted and are still adjusting, but I have stopped stressing about whether we made the right decision to  uproot them, sell our house and move.

Last night we went to the open house at A's new school (intermediate - grades 4 and 5). Hombre and I were overwhelmed by the packed gymnasium full of parents and the full roster of teachers in attendance. Even the superintendent was there! There was no tension in the atmosphere; no complaining, no rolling eyes, no grumbling. As we left the gym to head for individual classrooms, we saw photos posted on the walls of the kids arriving on the first day - just last week, and already printed and posted! We met the PTO out in full force, with cookies and drinks for all. We felt the other parents' excitement at the start of the new year. Best of all: the genuine enthusiasm of A's new teachers.

A's classroom teacher spoke enthusiastically about a book she read over the summer (The Book Whisperer) that changed her view about teaching reading after having been a teacher for 11 years. She bubbled over about it and about her plan to turn these fourth graders into passionate readers. A's "switch" teacher (for social studies) was equally energetic. She blogs daily about the happenings in the classroom because a weekly newsletter just doesn't seem like enough communication. How can these attitudes NOT carry over into the classroom? How could they fail to impact the minds and spirits they work with every day?

We left the school feeling both incredibly lucky, but also slightly guilty. Every child deserves this kind of attention and high regard.  Every student should feel so special, so important: her teacher spent her summer developing a new reading program!

And so this morning, as I waited outside in the driveway with A for the bus to come, we danced. We danced and twirled and giggled and laughed. Because we were both so very happy.