When I took my leave of absence, I was told that there would be no guarantees as to which school or grade I'd return to. In June, I was happy to find out that not only did I get to return to the school I left prior to taking my year off, but that I'd also get the grade I left, too. So, this year I am back at Harvest Elementary School, teaching 5th grade. A major change though, is my grade level partner David has been moved to middle school. I will miss working with him immensely! Luckily for me, my new grade level partner is someone that I've worked with before. Michelle and I taught first grade together many years ago! We have another grade level partner, Hien, who we just met a few weeks ago. Our school has a new principal this year so I have no idea what to expect. It has only been a week and a half, but I am very content- I really enjoy my class! I haven't had any internal battles about being a working mom vs. being a stay-at-home mom. Aside from now having very busy days, it has been a pretty smooth transition!
Jeremy spends his day at an in-home daycare down the street from Grace's school. It is the same one he went to before I took my year off work. They loved him so much that they reserved a spot for him! We decided to start him a week before we had to be back at work, just to give him time to adjust. He cried for about a half hour on his first day, but once they started their "school" hour, he immediately stopped crying and was hooked. He loves it and has had no problems since then! We love it because even though he's only 2, they do arts & crafts with him, music, dancing, "school-learning (alphabet & numbers), and "exploration" play. We call it "school" just to make him feel grown up like Grace!
This is a big year for Jason! His middle school is 6th-8th grade and he decided to change grade levels this year, moving from 8th grade History to 6th grade History. He is extremely excited because unlike a self-contained 6th grade classroom, he only teaches 6th grade History. The curriculum is fun, consisting of Ancient Rome, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, etc. The nicest thing about this switch is that 6th grade does not have California State Testing for History... Ah, no pressure of testing! His program is I.B. (International Baccalaureate), and so the majority of his students are bright, having tested "Proficient or Advanced" last year on the CSTs. There are so many things he'll be able to do with his classes this year and after meeting them this past week, he's very optimistic that it's going to be a great year!
Grace's first day of first grade was this past Monday. She was extremely anxious! The night before school started, I explained to her that I'd walk her to class, help her find her desk, and then I'd have to leave because I had to go to work. Teary-eyed, she said, "When you leave, I'm going to cry because I'll miss you so much. I won't see you for a whole day!" For weeks now, she has also made comments like, "I'm not ready for first grade," or "I'm not smart enough to be in first grade," or "What if I can't stay awake for the entire day?" We have never put pressure on her, but somehow, she has gotten the impression that she has to know everything in order to be in first grade. Another teacher at my school was able to take my class so that I could drop Grace off at school on her first morning. Grace didn't cry, though she clearly looked nervous. I on the other hand, got very emotional. Last year, she was only gone for a half-day. It really hit me that she was going to be in school for an entire day... and that I had to "let go." Remember when she started school as a kindergartner!?Here is our little first grader! Without getting into specifics, we were extremely let-down by her school and teacher on her first day of school. Furthermore, after a disappointing Back-to-School Night, and Grace's many comments about how she doesn't think her teacher likes her, I am genuinely concerned about how this year is going to affect her personality, her spirit, her love of school, and her desire to learn. I have a feeling that this is going to be a trying year- God is going to teach us a lot through it!