Things I know for sure:
Get the hang of this blogging thing or you will end up posting stuff before it is ready!
In 5 years of being the mother of a school age child I know that the vast majority of teachers/staff are wonderful and kind and have your kid’s best interest at heart. While I am glad that most elementary teachers are women (for the motherly type treatment when they are really young), it is nice also to have a male teacher/leader, they tend to put more expectations on the students, and as they get older that is always good.
I find it very hard to call my son’s teachers by their first names, even though for the most part they have all been younger than me. They encourage you to do that, and call you by your first name (which I have no problem with), but there is still that respect thing – and for sure they are always referred to as Ms._____ in our house, not sure if Alex even knows their first names!
I love being able to communicate regularly by email with Alex’s teachers. With my schedule I don’t pick him up until after 4pm each day, and only am able to take him to school one day per week. Most teachers are gone by 4, or if they aren’t they don’t want to chat at that time without an appointment.
Be involved in your kid’s school as much as you can with your schedule. In my experience the most actively involved parents are the ones with full time jobs and lots of other commitments. I guess it’s true that if you want something done, ask a busy person. I walked into the Parent Teacher group meeting in the first month that Alex started Primary. I knew no one, so that was out of my comfort zone for sure. I had been lurking on the school’s website for 6 months before he started, read minutes of meetings and tried to get the gist of what went on. In fact as he starts his last year in elementary I have already started doing that for his next school too!
I want Alex to be a good student (which he is) but you don’t really know they are good without a reference point. With no other kids I don’t know what is good or not good, and truthfully report cards are not a whole lot of help. Alex has gotten good marks in things I don’t feel he knows so well, but he met the “outcome” and so gets an A. Nothing wrong with the old way of teaching things in my opinion, and the schools should go back to a little bit of that in some areas. So I try to discretely ask him how other kids have done on a quiz or something like that, just to see where he may fit in. He doesn’t even know most of the time (or he doesn’t tell me) which is probably good.
This past school year (Grade 4) is the first full year that Alex has been walking to school with friends anytime the opportunity is there. Now, we only live 10 minutes from school in a quiet neighbourhood, but I was nervous about it when he started walking at the end of Grade 3. When I was in Grade 4, I walked from our house to downtown Sydney (probably a 45 minute walk), got my ears pierced on my own, and walked back. If you let your child do that now you would be considered a negligent parent! The safety and security back then is a real loss in today’s world.
I am extremely envious of parents who live in the same place as their Mother! To be able to call her to help out with your child sometime would be such a blessing. If you are that lucky – be grateful! This summer Alex is going to 7 weeks of camps, all different themes etc. He is envious of his friends who get to stay home with a parent or other family member, even though he is interested in all the camps he goes to. When you are in a position that you have to work all summer (!), the guilt of hauling your child to another location all summer is no fun. When I was a kid that’s all we did, stay home all summer. Oh wait, that was fun…..the neighbourhood was full of kids and if you didn’t even come home for lunch I don’t think your mother even noticed. I guess I can see where he is coming from – unfortunately not doable in our world. Maybe all this Science/swimming camp stuff will pay off one day and he will be a Lifeguard/Microbiologist! Come to think of it he does have some of the traits of some of the guys on Big Bang Theory….