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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Love Elementary School

This is the title I planned last night and today the title fits even more so than last night. Last night, I planned to wax nostaligic about the simplicity of elementary school. Today, I will still wax nostalgic but I am also going to tell the story of what happens at elementary school if you don't know the rules.

Yesterday we had a parent/teacher conference with Zach's English teacher. It was at this conference I realized how wonderfully simple elementary school is. Zach has eight different teachers, so do Lucas and Jan. That is eight different sets of rules to learn, eight different personalities to get to know, eight different assignments to lose, eight different parent/teacher conferences and eight different ways to screw up in one day. This is eight ways to make life confusing, complex and real.

Elementary school. The kids have one main teacher with all of the speical area teachers sprinkled in. I love having one main teacher. I love that my kids get to know and love this one person. Zach's kindergarten teacher laid it out there for us when he started school. "Your child will now spend more of their awake hours with me than they will with you." It was kind of a kick in the gut but it was true. I am so very thankful for all of the wonderful teachers who have loved my children through the course of their school years. I love it when my kids call me by their teacher's name. To me, it means they have connected with their teacher and both respect and trust the other. Every year when Claire has to move up to the next grade I get tears from her. Her heart breaks every time she has to leave her beloved teacher. I love that she loves her teachers so deeply. I love the simplicity of elementary school.

Today elementary school got just a little complex. Today was donuts with Dad at Claire's school. It was also the day at the dentist for all three kids. Donuts with Dad went from 7:20-7:50. The dentist appointment was at 8. Perfect timing. The plan was I would take the boys to the dentist's office and Stan would bring Claire to the dentist's office after donuts with Dad. Perfect. All kids check ups were great - no cavities! Woooohoooo! I start the great kid drop off...three kids, three different schools. Zach was first because school hadn't started for him yet so he wouldn't be late. Claire was next. WOW! I walked into a firestorm! As soon as I walk into the main office the secretaries said "Claire gave us quite a scare this morning. We thought we lost her." Stan didn't know the rule. I didn't tell him that once a student is on school grounds the parent has to sign the student out in the front office so the school staff knows the whereabouts of the child during school hours. Stan didn't know this rule. He took Claire out of school without signing her out. The school had no idea where she was. I was on the receiving end of some "wrath" today.

I walked Claire down to her class room to apologize to her teacher. Poor Mrs. B. She thought she lost Claire. There was still a hint of panic in her eyes when I gave her a hug and apologized for the scare we created. Mrs. B said she saw Claire and Stan at donuts with Dad. When time ticked away after the tardy bell rang and there no sign of Claire a ball of fear started creeping up her chest. There was no record of her leaving. She didn't get signed out. Pairs of kids were dispatched all over the school to find Claire. They made a school wide announcement for Claire to come to the front office. Mrs. B was in tears thinking she lost my child and she said she went into a panic. She kept calling up to the front office to see if there was any word on where Claire was. They had no idea where she was because Stan didn't know the rule. I am incredibly thankful to incur "wrath" when it comes to protecting my children. Today I will bring treats to the all of those who whose "wrath" I incurred both as an apology for the scare we created and to offer my thanks for the fiercely protective environment the school provides for all of our children every day.


Next time Stan has donuts with Dad followed by a dentist appointment I will tell him to make sure to sign Claire out before he takes her off of school grounds. Elementary school may not be so simple all of the time. You have to know the rules or you risk being on the receiving end of someone's "wrath." But when you know the rules in elemetary school, life is good and simple. Elementary school is all about making sure our youngest learners are safe, nurtured and loved. It may not be the way the real world works with all of its confusion and complexity but I don't care. I love elementary school.

So bring on the "wrath" for the love of my children...

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