Two years ago my daughter couldn’t wait to become “a big girl” and cross over from a private preschool to a public school kindergarten. She was very excited about the magical world of school and its possibilities. She came very prepared in reading and math, but her fine motor skills still put writing in “hard work” category. She really enjoyed her K year and learning not only from the teacher but also from her older friends in K-1 combo class. The first grade was a lot less successful due to a poor composition of the same combo class with the same teacher. Now I firmly believe that the best teachers can only do so much in the class where a couple of difficult kids take 80% of their time and attention leaving the rest of the kids shortchanged.
I talked to Smarty about her hopes and fears for this year. Here is a glimpse into the world of school through my daughter’s eyes:
- Me: Are you looking towards to school?
- Smarty: No… Maybe only microscopically. I am like other big kids in Y now. I don’t really like school.
- Me: Hmm… You know, I always looked forward to going back to school in September.
- Smarty: Well, it’s because you had the same kids every year and many of the same teachers. I will have everything new – new friends to make, and a new teacher. I am nervous.
- Me: But you will have some of your friends in the same class, and you will see others at recess. And why are you nervous about your new teacher.
- Smarty: Because sometimes I can’t wait for my turn to speak. I am trying but I am frustrated when I am not called. Sometimes I even cry a little.
- Me: But are there things you look forward to learning this year?
- Smarty: Long division and cursive. I don’t like writing, but I suppose I need it for my job as a mechanical engineer. I am good at reading and math, but I will have to write things down. And I want to go to the best college for mechanical engineers. It’s a dangerous job, because I want to work with machines and invent, so I need to learn a lot.
- Me: So, after all, perhaps you are looking towards school and eventually going to college?
- Smarty: Well, yes, I just hope the biggest bully in school is not in my class!
Your turn: Are your kids looking forward to a new school year? Have you ever asked school to accommodate your child’s needs if your child does not fit into a regular IEP category? If so, share your tips!