I loved the beginning of school in the States. On my list of great things, school supply shopping would only be second to school supply organizing. I would take everything out of the package, write my name on my notebooks neatly, and then pack all the pencils up in my new pencil case and stack my notebooks before putting them in my backpack. In elementary school we would ride our bikes to the school to find out what classroom teacher we would have. At Lawrence University, I would fill out all the times of my classes in my planner and figure out when I would have to start walking to campus. I took care to get up extra early the first morning of school for, oh, the last ten years of my life.
So that’s what I started to do to feel more prepared here. The schooling is year-round so January actually markers our new school year. I looked at my planner a bit (although I didn’t have anything to fill in), I swept out the library, I got up early the morning of, and did yoga and ate cornflakes with honey. I tried so hard but the first day of school turned into the type of unorganized day I avidly avoid regardless of if it is the first, second, or third day of anything. But. It turned in to the best first day I could have had.
School started as always with assembly. I recognized most of the first graders from the pre-school but they had never been to assembly before so they kept clapping at the wrong times and trying to tuck in their school uniform; they were adorable. At the end, when each grade is told one at a time to go to class, students kept leaving with their former grade, suddenly realize they were a grade higher now, and run back to line up. Everyone seemed kind of bewildered at all the changes.
Oliver and I had spent part of the day before with the principal organizing the school supplies to be handed out so we went to him and asked if he needed more help with that. He asked us if we could take the 6th and 7th grades that day as their classrooms were full of school supplies and construction materials. Trying to hide our panic, we said yes. Suddenly we had 30 kids in the computer lab that we didn’t know what to do with. We ended up playing 2 truths and a lie which they really liked and then a competitive game of Pictionary. It was a good chance for us to learn names and get to know the older students better.
At break we talked and decided that we didn’t know how we could manage a group that large for the rest of the day so, we decided to try and tackle the real issue-get the books out of their classrooms-on which no progress had been made. We told the principal we were willing to help with that problem. He said that would be great and we could work with the grade 7 teacher who knows the procedure. It was kind of a maze in the classrooms of Feint and Margin 48 page notebooks, Quad and Margin 80 page large notebooks, pencil packs, empty bags and boxes, and even bags of cement. We worked together to look at what classes got what supplies and set up an assembly line. Then we coerced the 7th graders into helping out and put each of them in charge of a station. We brought the younger grades in, 1 class at a time and the students filed through the line. The 7th graders did a great job making sure the little kids got the right number and correct type of notebooks and telling them where to go.
We were exhausted by the end of the day and not really sure how things went. But then the principal told us that the distribution usually takes a whole week and that he was very happy it was done in one afternoon. Oliver thrives on those types of days, where the schedule gets mixed up first thing in the morning so you don’t really know what’s coming up next or when you find out you’re down 2 staff members last minute. Oliver’s resume is made up of jobs where working half crazed is a major requirement. I’m not like that at all and although today it was really great to work with the 7th grade teacher and his students on a project and everything turned out ok, I secretly hope next year starts off a bit calmer.
Rebecca is currently reading: The Hunger Games
Oliver is currently reading: Suicide of a Superpower
We are currently watching: House, Season 5