Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Kindergarten Review: Why I Cried When it Was Over

First day of kindergarten/last day of kindergarten
I cried the first day of kindergarten. Duh, right? Of course I cried. I had to send my first baby girl off into the world, trust her with people I didn't know, let go of her hand as she walked off without me. But as the year went on, we fell into routines. School became part of our daily routine, part of life. I got used to having her gone from 8-3, it was just a part of what we did everyday. Get up, pack a lunch, read her book for school, attempt to tame her crazy hair and put on some fashionable clothes, go off to school. It felt normal, I had accepted it.

At the beginning I sent her off and cried and cried and cried. Then I sucked it up and let my baby go to school and learn to read and do the things that are necessary to grow up.
Life went on, she grew and learned. We went on a field trip to a pumpkin patch, fun was had.

The year flew by, pretty soon it was Thanksgiving.
The pasta necklace exchange. 

A whole bunch of little indians, right after exchanging pasta necklaces with some pilgrims. Just like the first Thanksgiving...
Right after that was the Christmas program. It was...interesting.
This kid did not sit still the whole time. 

Alana and her teacher after her Christmas play. 
I helped in Alana's class at every chance I got. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, every field trip or water day or ice cream party. By the end of the year I knew every kid by name, they just called me Alana's mom. I also met other moms, the playground is like a matchmaking service for moms who want to make friends. I now know so many more people, just from sending my kid to school.

During spring break we moved, and when school started back up again Alana's teacher was out for a couple of weeks because she had knee surgery. That was rough for Alana, having a sub for that long when she was so attached to her teacher. She cried a few times, we even had to make a couple phone calls to her teacher and mail her a handpainted Get Well Soon card.

Throughout the year there were assemblies and rallies, the kids sang the national anthem at homecoming, Alana made the Distinguished Honor Roll all four quarters, and of course the thing she wanted the most was to be Bobcat Citizen basically like student of the month. You get that by being respectful, responsible, caring, and safe. I know, many many children told me.
The school won't let you wear Halloween costumes, so she did the next best thing. 
Ready to sing some songs at homecoming. 
Writing out Valentines to all of her friends. 
Kindergarten was exciting for Alana. She loved every minute of it, even when I had to force her to stay, she loved it.

The last trip of the year was to the zoo, so of course we all went.

The Friday before Mother's Day the whole Kindergarten had a short play where they sang and gave the moms cookies and flowers. A couple of weeks before that they had a poetry recital. Both were endlessly entertaining, and I'm pretty sure they both involved some public nosepicking, luckily it wasn't ever my kid doing it.

When the year was not quite through they had field day. I'm pretty sure the concept of a relay race is beyond the comprehension of 5 & 6 year olds, it was a mess. It was entertaining though, if you find little kids trying to do the long jump funny.
One of these girls was super fast (not my kid) and one of them gave the baton to the wrong kid who wasn't on their team or in their class (also not my kid). 

The last week was spirit week, and it included crazy hair day, which Alana was born to participate in. She could just roll out of bed and be ready, but we went with something cuter instead. 

The last thing of the year, since her school does not have a kindergarten graduation, was the Bobcat Rally on almost the last day of school. This was Alana's last chance to win Bobcat Citizen, and she was hyped. I had actually mentioned to her teacher when we were at the zoo (because a little name dropping on your child's behalf never hurt anyone right?) that Alana really wanted to be Bobcat Citizen, mostly because you get a free shirt and who doesn't like free shirts. Her teacher was surprised, because she thought Alana had already been Bobcat Citizen. Told you name dropping never hurt anyone, cause otherwise Alana would've been overlooked.

The Bobcat Rally finally came, and Alana was a Reader Leader (she was ranked #9 total out of the whole combined kindergarten of 4 classes), she made distinguished honor roll for the fourth time, and who would've thought, she was a Bobcat Citizen!!! To say she was excited is an understatement. She put the shirt on immediately, over her other shirt. She would wear it every day if I let her.

She was proud, I was proud, it was a good Bobcat rally. If only she was as well behaved at home as she is at school.

Then, much to my dismay, it was the last day of school. I was sad. I took her to school as usual, then I made a last minute decision to go to her class ice cream party and help out. One last party for old time's sake. I'm still unsure if it was a good idea, I was an emotional wreck. I cried like an idiot. Alana had made her teacher a card the night before, which set off my emotions already, and her teacher told me that it made her cry too. At least I wasn't alone in my tears.

I still can't read this card without crying. Then her teacher read a poem out loud about how they were all special and she loved being their teacher. Then she looked up at me and another mom and she was crying and we were crying. So many emotions are involved in kindergarten. Then Alana got her kindergarten "diploma" and we all distracted ourselves by serving the kids enough ice cream to get a giant sugar high right before they went home.
Alana wanted one last picture with her teacher at the end of the day, then we all hugged goodbye like we were never going to see each other again. I seriously don't know when I turned into such a giant crybaby, I'm guessing sometime around 2006 when I had Alana.

The reason that kindergarten was so special this year wasn't just because my lady grew up so much and learned to read, it was because she had such a good teacher. I mean really, this has got to be the most important job in the world. We trust these teachers with the most valuable things in our life, they are with our kids as many hours as we are, they help to shape our children's love of education. If Alana hadn't had such a great teacher it would've been so hard for me to get her to stay at school. There were times when Alana literally had to be made to stay there without me, I don't know what I would've done without her. Alana was excited to hold her teacher's hand and walk to class every morning, that really saved me a lot of dragging her into school.

Teachers are important, and they are underpaid and underappreciated. Mrs Hermes will always have a special place in my heart for taking care of my baby for me all through kindergarten. It really takes a special person to take care of all of these kids and love them the whole year through, then just when you get them to where they're useful and they can read and stuff, you have to send them on to first grade.

I'm still an emotional mess about the end of this year. Really, who cries because school is over? I know we'll have to make quite a few visits back to her classroom next year, at least for hugs and to give her a Christmas card. When Ava is in kindergarten (and she will probably be in her class because that's how our school typically does that, siblings all get the same teacher) I'll be more than happy to volunteer again, just because she's such a great teacher. Then when that year is over, somebody better pass me the tissues, cause I'm sure I'll cry again.

1 comment:

Khaymon Drakonis said...

Absolutely amazing experiences.. after 2 me my own, I recollect many of the same emotions.

Teachers and the true unsung heros in our society.

Thank you Jennifer, for reminding us all of the small things (I refer to the children) that make Life meaningful and important.


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