Today was open house at Anders’ school. My husband was working, which meant I had to go alone to meet the woman who would kick off our son’s school career. I happen to believe that a lot rides on your first teacher. I remember a good deal about my kindergarten class and the teacher that led it, particularly about how she made me feel. While a negative experience doesn’t doom one to struggle for the next dozen scholastic years, it sets the tone and a talented teacher can mean the difference between convincing a kid that, yes, they must go to school again today and promising them that the weekend will be over in no time.
Luckily, Ms. B made a great first impression. With almost two decades of experience, she opened her welcome speech delivered to a room filled with parents by sharing a picture of herself with her kindergarten teacher and explained that she kept the photo in her classroom as a reminder of how important that first year can be for children. Sound familiar? Same page. We are on it.
We went over policies, the rules, and what happens if and when a child fails to follow them. We discussed homework expectations, the reward system, and daily schedules. Finally, we all lined up to shake the hand of the woman who would be the first to call our children students. It was a lot like lining up in church on Sunday after the sermon is over, something that I haven’t done since girlhood, and when I reached the front of the line I felt those old familiar nerves return.
Later, sitting alone in the parking lot I heaved a great sigh, turned the key in the ignition, and pointed the car toward home where, ready or not, my kindergartener awaited me.
Photo credit: istock