Back to School Night was last night, complete with PTO members patrolling the halls, duping unsuspecting people into being room parents. I outsmarted the PTO by dressing in all black, ducking under a table and then crawling into my kids’ classrooms on all fours. Actually, I didn’t do any of those things, but I did keep staring stony-eyed down the hall as a PTO member called after me, “No, really, you can sign up to volunteer here!”
We went to Benjamin’s classroom first. His teacher is a new teacher this year, fresh off her Masters. I’m sure she has plenty to learn (don’t we all?), but what she’s got going for her is that she exudes love. There is no doubt in my mind that every kid in that room knows she cares about them. Benjamin will do anything for someone who’s filled with love. Earlier this week – I swear to god – he told me, “Ms. P always talks in a sweet voice.” In contrast to, say, his mother.
But here’s the important thing about my visit to his classroom: Up on the wall, she had posted these little fill-in-the-blanks worksheets the kids had done. After “I like…,” my little man was the only child who wrote, “my Mom.” Because I’m such a class act, I turned to the mom beside me, whose daughter had written “J.P. Licks” and said, “My kid likes me; yours likes ice cream.” This kind of thing is one of the many reasons I don’t belong on the PTO board.
Next up was the third grade classroom. Zachary has a teacher this year who I think would have been calm on the deck of the Titanic. From what Zach tells me, this teacher runs a tight ship. Zachary is delighted; he appreciates a room free of chaos. If I had gone out and designed the perfect teacher for my kid, this would be the man.
I was duly impressed with the third-grade curriculum, which includes stuff like “trees” and “frogs.” I like the way they design the math and literacy lessons, which should leave room for kids to be on different levels. I especially like the field trip scheduled for Plimouth Plantation, which you can bet I’ve already signed up to chaperone.
At the end of the presentation, the teacher played a slide show of each child’s self-portrait along with their voices finishing the sentence: “My hope and dream for third grade is…” Zach’s was pretty early, and his big hope and dream was to learn cursive. Cursive. That’s right. Keep in mind, earlier in the week he had told me, “I can’t miss school if I get sick. This may be my only chance to learn cursive!”
I was pretty amused by this until I saw the rest of the slide show. Of 25 students, four listed cursive as their top priority this year. How the hell are they brainwashing these kids? Who actually wants to learn cursive? History, sure, science, even spelling I can sort of see. But what’s the big appeal of cursive? This must be some damned good teacher if he can get kids jazzed up about handwriting.
Then it was over until next year. My husband and I snuck out the back door, completely evading the PTO snipers in the front hallway.