The Joys of the Chaos

Have you ever had so much to do at any given moment that you felt there was no way in hell it would get done? You know you had to leave at such and such to make it without being late. While scrambling to get it all done, you know there are only two options. Option A, leave without being properly prepared. Option B, slow down, don’t forget anything and accept the fact that you’re going to be late. Option C (an option you didn’t realize existed until it was too late) continue at the mad pace your on but ultimately forget something. Hopefully, not one of the kids. Or your spouse. Or worse yet, your lunch.

That’s what happened at house this morning. Anyone who has to get kids ready for school in the morning knows this struggle all to well. It is real. Last night’s snow didn’t help our situation. It was the most exciting two inches Crash and Bang had ever seen. The first “real” snow always is. Nevermind school, they couldn’t wait to get out to play in it. So excited that Crash made oatmeal for breakfast at 6 am, put in the freezer to cool off and forgot about it. I found it an hour and half later while getting ice for water bottles. Thank God, too. He would have been awful hungry come lunch time!

Fortunately, every on in our house is capable of dressing themselves now. Bang now gets himself dressed immediately after waking up. Knowing that I was substituting today, I got myself ready immediately after eating breakfast. Sorry, WordPress, you gotta wait until after school (or recess and lunch). Then it was down to pack three lunches – Crash’s, DW’s, and my own. Then chaos arrives and threw the proverbial wrench in my gears.

I’m all for the kids going out to play. I’m even more all for going out to play with them. What I’m not for is going out before school. Normally, Crash would help get ready – I’d pack his lunch, but he’d pack his backpack. This morning, he just couldn’t wait to go out and ride his snowboard down the hill in the fresh powder. Can’t blame him, I wanted to be out there, too. Unfortunately, he neglected his morning duties. Then Bang went out to play, too. This would have been all fine and dandy except that I had to stop the scramble and help him get on all his snow clothes.

They weren’t out long before traipsing back in. Lunches were being packed. Water bottles were being filled. We were nearly ready. Mostly. Bang needed his medicine (last of his antibiotic to heal his double ear infection). Bang needed his puffers. While DW administered those, I finished lunches. Finally, ready to head out the door, chaos tapped my on the shoulder and laughed.

Crash’s backpack still wasn’t packed like I asked him to do. He argued about wearing snow pants to school (his only argument was that it takes too long to put them on and he misses recess to which I told him to learn to dress faster. Duh). This required him to take off the boots and coat he had already put on. Bang was getting his coat on. I was getting my boots on. DW had started the truck so it could thaw and running like a blue arsed fly looking for her snow boots. I told her where to look in the basement, but she pulled a me and went looking and couldn’t find them fast enough. I ran down and got them. Came back up to pack Crash’s backpack. Meanwhile, the four year old is now the only one ready with hat, coat, mittens, and packed backpack standing outside waiting.

Finally, sitting in the truck, DW asks “Did you get my water bottle?”

“Nope.” And back into the house I go.

“It’s in the back of the truck,” she hollers into the house. That explains why I can’t find the damn thing. She forgot that she remembered to grab it.

Back in the truck she asks the second question, “Did you get my lunchbox?”

“Yes, but I forgot mine,” I respond with a growl and probably rolled my eyes so far back I could see myself think.

“I got it. It’s in the back of the truck.” And off we go, with a quick stop at Nanny’s to drop off the antibiotic because she will be picking Bang up from school. DW drops all three off at school (it’s great having the three of here at one time).

Ten minutes later I get paged to come to the office where the secretary tells me, “Your wife called. You forgot your lunch in the truck.”

Shit. Guess I’ll consider myself lucky if that’s the only thing I forgot.

quote-my-eyes-rolled-so-far-back-in-my-head-that-i-could-see-myself-think-janet-evanovich-41-80-78

Giving credit where credit is due. 

 

Teacher’s Kids

What’s it like having two teachers as parents? Kelly over at Bustle knows pretty well it’s like.

Crash and Bang have the advantage (curse?) of having not one teacher parent, but two.  It has its advantages – access to parts of the school other kids don’t get to see, get to be in school when there is no one else there, get to have mom or dad as a teacher (this is both a pro and a con). On the other hand, it also has some disadvantages – you get mom or dad as your teacher, every teacher in the school knows who you are, you have to stay after school when you’d rather go home, and expectations are set a bit higher.

So far Crash is still pretty excited to see me in school. Even as his substitute teacher. I’m hoping it stays this way, but I’m certainly not expecting it to.

Right now I’m only substituting. However, this still gives me access to the school as if I were a full time teacher. I use the teacher’s lounge. I can enter and exit through the staff doors. I am the first one in and last one out of the classroom. This means that Crash can do these things, too. Though, I keep him out of the staff room if there are other teachers in there. It’s not a place for sensitive ears. If I’m subbing for the gym teacher he gets to use the whole gym. To himself. Show me a kid who doesn’t want full run of a gymnasium and I’ll show you a kid who probably doesn’t like gym! This is true of the classroom, too. It’s something different for a kid to be in their teacher’s classroom all by themselves.  The quiet. The empty desks. The cleanliness.

Then there’s being your kid’s teacher. I’m not sure exactly how he feels when hears his classmates tell him “Your dad is our teacher!” He knew this before he even got to school. Now he has to hear it over and over as each classmate realizes this. Over and over. And Over.saint

Then there are the expectations. Stereotypical teacher’s kids are held to slightly higher standards than the general population of the school. Being teachers, we know how students should behave in school and we therefore start teaching this to our own kids at birth. Also, as teachers who love to teach, we begin teaching our own kids while still in the womb. I know I was reading to DW’s baby belly for both of our sons. So teacher’s kids are not only expected to behave, but also be smart.

Every teacher in the school knows who Crash is. Or at least every teacher who knows me and DW (also a teacher). Therefore, there are eyes on him at all times. I know about things he’s done before he knows I know about them. One day he’ll tell me I was always spying on it. S’okay, though, it’s for his own good. And I do spy, by the way. If I’m subbing at his school I will, at least once, peek through his classroom door at him to see what he’s up to.

peeking

It’s not so bad being a teacher’s kid. Except, this evening, Crash was complaining about having to practice math. “I have to do math for like two hours in school. Then, I come home and have to do it for 15 more!” Sorry kiddo. Not everyone gets to have a teacher mom and dad. But you do. So lets get ‘er done and make ya fast at addition and subtraction so we can do some multiplication! HA!

Back to School Woes

It’s back to school time. Crash is now in 3rd grade. Amazing. Where has the time gone. It wasn’t that long ago he was just starting primary (kindergarten for those of you in the US). Now, Bang is in pre-school three days a week. Both kids in school. How did we get here?

However we got here, here we are. I know it’s back to school time. I don’t need a calendar to know that, either. I can see it on their faces. It’s dripping from their little noses. Their noses are normally so cute I could kiss them, too. I won’t go near those noses without a meaty layer of Kleenex (aloe infused, at that) between us. They haven’t even been in school for a full week, yet!

Crash’s first week of school was only two days long. That was right before Labor Day weekend. His second week of school was only four days because of Labor Day. Bang didn’t start until last Wednesday and he had just two days of school. But here they both are with colds, full of snot, and probably on the verge of being feverish. *knock on wood* (I really hope not because Bang is supposed to be going to the sitter’s house for the first time tomorrow and I won’t send him with a fever).

I wish there was a use for snot. I’ve got two factories running full time here. I could bottle it, sell it, and make a fortune! I’m sure it could be used as bio-diesel or rubber cement or butter substitute. Unfortunately, there seems to be no need for it when it’s outside of their bodies. So I’ll just keeping blowing their cute little noses and throwing it away because it’s certainly not going to be me who finds a use for that stuff.

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Today is your first day of school, again. Though, I know today really isn’t your first day. You have been at inservices enhancing your teaching methods. Those inservices, which use up your precious classroom time. A time you use to get your classrooms in order. Figure out your desk arrangement and where to sit your new, eager learners even though you nothing about them. A time you use to decorate your walls, bulletin boards and chalk boards. This, I know, is no easy feat. But you’re creative, you’ll have no trouble. Your walls and boards will be adorned with bright colors and all things educational. Regardless of the all meetings and inservices, your classroom will be open, ready, and eager for new learners.

Those inservices that use up your precious planning time. You get very little of it in a normal day. So little, in fact, that you often have to come in early and stay late in order to be fully prepared. Not only do you need to determine the lessons to be taught, but you need to find the best method of delivery. Capturing and keeping a student’s attention should be an Olympic event. There are meetings to be attended. There will be papers to be graded and report cards to be done. There will be phone calls home and notes written. There will be concerts to prepare for. But for now, it’s all you can do to just be ready on this first day.

I have a dream that one day teachers will be the role models elite athletes have become. Kids will want to collect teacher cards, not baseball cards. A teacher’s rookie card will be worth thousands. Especially those who have dedicated your life to teaching. Year after year, you return with the exact same enthusiasm and vigor your new students bring with them on that first day. One day, it will be teachers like you who land million dollar contracts. One day.

So, as you start your first day with new group of children, remember, one of those children is mine. He might be a bit stubborn. He might gravitate toward a behavior slightly less than ideal while following others doing the same. He may loathe writing. But he is our child and we love him dearly. Meanwhile, we will remember the extra, unpaid hours you put in. We will remember he is not your only student. We will remember that chances are good you have your own child you would rather be with instead of working.

Here’s to a great first day and to a great year ahead! And that glass of red this evening to unwind from this hectic, crazy, exciting day.

Sincerely,
A parent who understands

Checked out

busted schoolThe end is near.

We have two more days. Then it’s all over until September. Two more days of school. Crash is sick of it and ready for summer. Daylight lasts until after 9:00pm and he’s a night hawk. Unfortunately, he’s also a morning bird. The two do not mix very well. Anyway, from a child who normally enjoys school woke up this morning with the phrase “I don’t want to go to school.”

I wanted to tell him neither do his teachers. Instead, I bit my tongue and told him there are only two more days and one of those days is a field trip. A cool science field trip at that. And I get to tag along as a chaperone!

Nevertheless, it’s the end of the school year. The kids think they have no more to learn so they have no desire to be in school. Of course, it tough to be the teacher trying to teach kids who a) think they’re done learning and b) are so ready be home. It’s also tough to be the parent and send your reluctant child to school. Luckily, being teachers, we have the same summer vacation our kids do so there’s no need for day care or baby sitting services. Lucky us.

So the kids have checked out, so to speak. They’re done. No more need of school. Learned all they’re going to learn this year. Unfortunately, there’s still two more days. I will have to kick Crash out the door two more times. Make lunches two more times. But it’s all good. The end is near and then it’s freedom. Free at last! Free at last! Free at last!

Our Little Geek

Today is report card day. I am always impressed by how much work goes into these things here. In Virginia we simply put the student’s grade and comment or two from a drop down menu. Talks too much. Pleasure to have in class. Needs to turn in more homework. Great job! That kind of thing. Not here. Here, there are paragraphs written about each subject that was studied. It’s a three page report!

Crash’s first report card last November was shining. All A’s and one B. He also nearly had straight C’s (C is for constantly which means he was able to do the task all on his own). Though he did have one P (which would be for prompting. He was able to do what was needed after being asked to do it a couple times. Fortunately, he only had the one P because if he were like me he would have had A LOT more). I wonder what what kind of grades his teacher will give him he will earn this time around? Check back this evening and I’ll let you know.


For those checking back, the report card has arrived. We have tried to set high standards without applying too much pressure. I think we’re succeeding. He doesn’t seem stressed about it at all. Then there’s that consistent B in speaking and listening. He’s 7, he doesn’t listen to much of anything other people tell him unless it involves video games, farts, or the Lego Movie. On the flip side, his interaction with others – being positive, resolving conflicts, and working collaboratively – is outstanding. He’s a people person who strives to please. Room for improvement? Of course. Are we proud? As punch.

The Teachers…

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Teacher’s Pet.”

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Do you remember your first grade teacher? I do. Mrs. Rosemere. I wish I knew where she was now so I could tell her I’m a teacher now. I had a bad year of school the year before we had moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland. So here I was in a new school, in a new state with a new teacher and new kids to make new friends. While I don’t remember anything specific from that class 30 years ago, mom tells me I would have walked through Hell in a gasoline suit for Mrs. Rosemere. She helped me learn to love school.

Then in 3rd grade I had Mrs. Burton. My greatest and favorite memory about Mrs. Burton is that she made me feel good about myself. Each week she handed out what she called a “Super Sprout” award. It was basically a picture of a plantman for us color and she would hang on the bulletin board outside her classroom announcing to the school who her favorite best student was that week. Before lunch she told the class, “It’s someone who is not expecting it”. Of course, during lunch we’re trying to guess who it would be. No one guessed me. I didn’t guess me, either. So you can imagine my delight to find out it was me!

Then in high school I had two teacher I really looked up to, though neither one was my teacher. They were my coaches. Mr. Frey and Mr. Melchior. They both coached soccer and Mr. Frey coached wrestling. So every day after school for about 6 months of the school I’d spend 2 hours with either both of them during the soccer season or one of them during wrestling season. They demanded a lot from us but they did it in such a way that we’d look forward to it. They didn’t make us do anything they couldn’t themselves. Unfortunately for us, they could do A LOT!

Then in university, after enduring two years of undergrad requirements, I entered my field of study, teaching. Here I met my last two favorites, Dr. Ornstein and Dr. Bingman. It was a class of about sixty and they knew everyone by name. They took the time to get to know us. Nothing was sugar-coated, but they weren’t mean by any stretch of the word. Together they taught me to be the teacher I am today.

Lastly, though Crash has absolutely adored all of his teachers, I feel I need to mention his first “big kid school” teacher, Mrs. Kennedy. Others compared her to Mary Poppins. She would do pretty much anything for her students. If it was pyjama day at school she would wear her pajamas, bath robe, curlers in her hair, and the whole works. She created a superhero “Zero”, who helped the kids count to the hundredth day of school. Zero would drop off math assignments for the kids to complete. Then on the hundredth day, her husband would dress as a “Zero the Superhero” and come into their class.

As a teacher, I’ve gotten to work with some pretty amazing teachers. Who was your favorite?

What the Teachers Didn’t Teach

Dear School,

I want to thank you so much for teaching my son. He is in his third year of school and the amount he has learned is astonishing. As a teacher, I know kids are like sponges and absorb knowledge like their shirts absorb ketchup. He’s learned to read chapter books. He can add and subtract and is even starting to multiply! He can skip count clear past a hundred. He understands the seasons, senses, space, and so much more that doesn’t start with “S” like compassion, condensation, and compasses.

However, not everything he has learned is listed in the curriculum guide.

Zombies are not in your curriculum, but he walks around the house with limp hands dangling from arms stuck out in front of him, moaning .

Where does Pokemon fit into the curriculum? I can’t find it anywhere in the syllabus. Yet, he is almost obsessed with it. He’s brought home some cards. Were they from the cumulative activity to wrap up their unit on Pokemon? I’m not thinking so.

And ninja training? Which outcome taught him to be a level 3, 8, 15, 20? He’s not even sure what level ninja he is but apparently someone is teaching him to be a ninja and his ninja level is not that of who is teaching him. So he runs around, sneaks around, hides in the yard, and climbs the tree. Of course, I join him because I’m a level 105 ninja (or so I’ve told him).

Lastly, thank you for introducing him to Minecraft. It’s the candy crush, flappy bird, crack for kids game that so far I’ve been able to keep at bay. Though, I’m not sure for how much longer.

Thank you, school, for going above and beyond and teaching him so much more than is required by the core curriculum standard outcome goals.

Sincerely,
A dad trying to be “cool”


(Has your little one learned something not quite educational from school?)