Saturday, September 1, 2007

Back To School

Wheeeeee! It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas or the day the new phone books arrive, it's back to school time at last! I have been waiting breathlessly for this day for longer than I care to admit. Okay, I'll admit it, I've been waiting for this day since about two weeks after school let out in June. My children have reached an age that dictates they must bicker, argue, fight and push each other's every button. I have no doubt that, had summer vacation gone on any longer, someone in my house would not have survived. The only real question was whether one of my children would die by the other's hand or if I would simply crack and smother them both as they slept. They're so very very lucky that they're cute when they're asleep. Indeed, it's the only thing that has saved them. My youngest has taken the 'louder is better' track and my eldest has opted for the 'everything annoys me' mode. Currently, my youngest does everything at both top speed and volume and he can't take a breath without his older brother criticizing his method. My oldest is perfect and knows everything, just ask him.

Back to school time is interesting, particularly when you have kids in both elementary and junior high. I love the supply list, it really does make life a whole lot easier to not have to think very much as you wander the school supply aisle. My kids' school doesn't provide a list past the sixth grade and frankly, I wouldn't mind. Last year, my then seventh grader came home from school on the second day with an entire sheet of additional items he would be needing by the following day. Do you suppose it would have killed these teachers to send the damn thingh out a couple of weeks earlier...maybe taking a deep breath and posting the list on the school website? I'm not asking for an engraved invitation, but a bit of notice would have been helpful. I live in a small town, our options for shopping are a little limited, so we tend to plan out "major" shopping trips in advance. When you have to drive 30 miles one way to do a big shopping, return trips are a huge pain in the butt. So, note to the educators: GET YOUR LISTS OUT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS!

I do enjoy the give and take, the familiarity that comes with being in a small school. The teachers know all the kids even before they have them in class. You get to know the building, administrators and teachers on a more personal level long before you have to deal with them on a professional level. This can be good and bad, sometimes getting to know these people personally can be a bit of a burden, it changes how you deal with them. You worry if you're going to make them mad when you voice a legitimate concern. You worry that you're going to be seen as hovering or interfering when you raise questions or challenge someone on a professional issue. This is the joy of living in a small town, the lines get a bit blurred once in a while. For example, I questioned the value of the school taking away one English class a week for a Spanish class that the kids didn't get graded or credited in any manner. I questioned this because the latest published set of English test scores was alarming, at best. The principal's response was more than a little snippy. In response to my asking the point of this Spanish class, he said "The point is to learn another language, obviously you don't value that." I do, Mr. Principal, I guess I think they should have a good grasp of their MOTHER TONGUE before moving on to another language. Comprende?