Placement: Grade 1

19 Jun



Maybe it means more to me than her, the last long look into the first classroom she ever entered, wave goodbye to her desk, hug her first teacher. Maybe she won’t remember this year, the way I remember my kindergartens in spurts, tiny spores released into the air of my memory. Maybe the memories will just be warm spring sunshine, the cold dark air of winter in her mouth. Singing, running, joy.

But it means so very much to me, on the verge of tears as we say goodbye to the woman who helped my daughter learn to read, who can be thanked, years from now, when Vivian accepts her Masters, or flies to Mars, the woman who has started Vivian on a road she can never fall from, a passion for words, and knowledge, and someday, hopefully wisdom.

How can you repay that? How many words match this gift?

Last September, I dropped Vivian off with a fair amount of trepidation, and a lot of relief, and shock. That we were there already. That she was so very eager. I read her last report card on the way home, focused more on the teacher’s perceptions of her than the evaluation. And I cried, quiet tears, swallowed as we walked through the playground. My daughter, called amazing and wonderful and bright, all those things I understood, all these things I’ve molded and helped create. To see it reflected back, to see her blossom under the tuteledge of another woman, and learn. It fills me with awe this change. It fills me with awe for my daughter, for her mind, for how nimble and thirsty it really is.

Seeing “Placement for September: Grade 1”, for all the smiles it gives, makes me feel old. She’s growing up, this magical girl of mine. She’s growing up,sprouting in her mind and legs, and leaving her mother behind already.

Maybe it does hit me more, my memories being sporatic, full of wisftul nostalgia. Maybe it’s just how it should be.

28 Responses to “Placement: Grade 1”

  1. Helen June 19, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Yes, it probably does mean more to you than to Vivian, because you have the benefit of hindsight, and you know where the beginning of a good education will lead. But have no doubt: she will understand in time! Congratulations to both of you!

    • thordora June 20, 2009 at 10:26 am #

      And I squee a little when she reads. Every time. It’s so awesome.

      And I’m a dork. 😛

  2. Hannah June 19, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Aw, now I’m sniffling. Congratulations to your bright and pretty girl. She’s grown so much since last summer!

    Isaac starts pre-school in the fall. I’m both thrilled to bits for him and terrified, because next year it’s on the big yellow bus and off to public education. The mostly positive experience that you and Viv have had so far fills me with hope.

    • thordora June 19, 2009 at 11:53 am #

      Hannah, we’ve been blessed with a teacher who adored Vivian and was a good fit. We’ll see what happens with Ros. 😛

  3. EJ June 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    Would you love her less if she wasn’t bright?

    So much of our expectations are reflected in/on our children. It can be a heavy burden. What if they aren’t cute, smart, loved by teachers?

  4. thordora June 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    That’s an odd question. I love her, period. I’m proud of her, because she has WORKED at her accomplishments. Because she is naturally inclined towards some of these things, and finding her niche. Because her teacher enjoyed teaching her.

    I loved her on the days she got a letters home too, and the days when she refused to read for me, or refused to listen a multitude of times I’ve tried to teach her. Because she has her own mind.

    My only expectations are that she tries, and that she does what she loves.

    Her sister carries straws around, pees the bed and refuses to let me help her with anything and I still love her. My love is not predicated on talent, or skill.

  5. de June 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I loved elementary school; I wouldn’t know at first what to do for my child if s/he didn’t, for whatever reason.

    I was so relieved at the first parent-teacher conference last fall when I was able to see, through her observations of my daughter, that her teacher really understood her as an individual, was aware of her strengths and weaknesses.

    I remember churning milk into butter in Kindergarten, that’s about it.

    • thordora June 20, 2009 at 10:25 am #

      I was so relieved at the first parent-teacher conference last fall when I was able to see, through her observations of my daughter, that her teacher really understood her as an individual, was aware of her strengths and weaknesses.

      That is totally what it’s all about.

  6. Hamilton Doula June 20, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    I’ll be getting the report card next week. School is done on Thursday.

    I’m more excited than sad, though. I’m sad that this week will be the end of play times and all the play intensive learning. Next year will be the start of formal education. I’m excited, however that I won’t be walking 30 mins each way to get him from school at noon. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Full days for grade 1 means the bus both ways.

    I’m excited for Kieran to be embarking on the new adventure of full time school, though.

    • thordora June 20, 2009 at 10:24 am #

      We’re within 2.4kms. No bus for english school, ever. It’s only a little over 1 km to get to the school though, so it only really sucks those REALLY cold days in winter.

      I was thinking about the “play” issue on the way home last night-I remember kindergarten as play, and grade 1 as more sit down, hands up learning. But I loved it. I inhaled what they gave me. I hope she will too.

      What will suck is when Ros starts-Kindergarten ends at 1:30, all other grades 2:30. With no bus, this means 2 trips, or one, and waiting around the school. Boo.

  7. Marcy June 20, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    It must be wonderful to see that someone else has taken the time to notice and observe, and come alongside and help — like you said, more than the actual grades, the value is in a teacher who got to know your child. What a blessing.

    • thordora June 20, 2009 at 10:22 am #

      You have no idea. It has truly been a blessing.

      Although I warned her that Ros is significantly more of a handful, and to watch out in 2010. 😀

  8. Bon June 20, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    i didn’t read this in the least bit as you loving her because she’s bright. in fact, i didn’t read this as being about her being bright, but rather about your deep gratitude and joy that her intro to formal education – which can be so damaging, bright or not – was a positive one, that built upon the foundation of confidence and passion to learn that you’ve tried to create.

    i thought it was lovely. and i can only hope my kids have teachers like that.

    though it just occurred to me i need to keep studying French cause otherwise i won’t be able to read their report cards with tears of any sort…i’ll be too busy sounding out words. 😉

    • thordora June 20, 2009 at 10:21 am #

      That’s just it. I’m proud of my daughter, as I always am, for being invested in learning new things. I’m insufferable when she’s reading, because it’s so magical-one day she couldn’t and the next, the door opened and BAM, she could READ! What’s more joyous than being connected to your society through words?

      And we were all blessed with a teacher who “got” her-not just liked her, but understood her. We’ve all had teachers we didn’t mind, but didn’t connect with. But then we’ve had those 1 or 3 teachers who just made the world come alive in our palms. This woman was like that for her, and I’m so glad. Everyone should be happy and eager to learn, and this woman made it so easy for Vivian.

      I wrote her a note, to tell her this, and made her cry. I’m hoping it was a better gift than all the coffee mugs and apples in the world.

  9. raino June 20, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    until i read this, i had never really given a whole lotta thought to how very important my girls first teacher is and was. beautiful post, this is!

  10. March June 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    this is indeed a beautiful posts, and it’s such a blessing that her experience in kindergarden was such a positive one. I’ll be sending all the good vibes so the grade 1 is just as good and as great a match with the teacher.

  11. kelly June 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Congratulations to your beautiful girl! I can’t imagine how amazing that must feel.

    When I think about kindergarten, two things come to mind, purple gnomes and honey. Our teacher let us try the second one day and I can still remember it being like liquid gold on my tongue. She sewed us each a small felt gnome in the color of our birthstone. I loved that little rag doll.

    Strange the things you remember.

    • thordora June 22, 2009 at 1:51 am #

      I bored her, continually through the year, with the story of “How Mommy learned her lesson about bringing things to school, and how Poppi was right.” I lost my favorite Strawberry Shortcake book after my father told me repeatedly not to bring it.

      There really is nothing worse than your father being right is there?

  12. kelly June 22, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    our girl starts 1st grade in the fall, too. it’s a raw and exciting time and I think back to my own childhood and yeah, it all comes in dusty little bursts of almost memory. more like sensation and still photos. I wonder what she’ll recall…

    my husband says the kids were born with PhDs and life knocks it out of them one year at a time.

    • thordora June 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

      Your husband is likely right. 🙂

  13. slouching mom June 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    oh i so love that photo.

    so much of parenthood is “wistful nostalgia.” sometimes i wish i hadn’t signed up for it, because damn, it hurts.

    • thordora June 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

      Isn’t she awesome? It’s the only shot that didn’t make her look like I drank through the pregnancy though. We’re going through the “make a face stage”.

      Nostalgia doesn’t hurt most days anymore. Or maybe I say that because I cry though it… 😛

  14. Amber June 22, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    Isn’t it amazing, this gift of education? Leaving my son’s preschool this year felt a lit like having my midwife move on after the birth. I felt like they were family.

    • thordora June 23, 2009 at 12:01 am #

      It really does choke me up. Watching her, literally, get smarter, drive for knowledge, bother me to learn new things-it’s incredible.

      When do we lose that anyway?

  15. camerashymomma June 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    kindergarten will be bits of memory for her, just as it should be. the smell of paint and letters on a chalkboard. it’s where we all come from. where we all leave from. your words are beautiful, and something i’ll be facing sooner than i would care to believe.

    • thordora June 23, 2009 at 12:02 am #

      It goes too fast. I register my youngest this fall, and plan on crying like a baby. And thinking of Vivian as 6, not as part of 0-5-it’s just too big, too soon.

  16. Maggie, dammit June 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    She’ll remember.

    I’m so glad for your gratitude toward this woman. She’ll remember, too.

    • thordora June 23, 2009 at 12:04 am #

      I hope so. I really wanted to make sure she knew we saw her contribution, and honor it. We take our teachers for granted far too often.

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