Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting a Glimpse

I always envisioned myself as one of those volunteer in the classroom parents. But last year, Sam's kindergarten teacher clearly did not want classroom volunteers (or at least not me), because she put me off every time I asked. This year, I haven't gotten around to talking to Sam's teacher about it, and I figure that walking into Jack's classroom would be somewhat of a disaster.

Now I'm one of the parents who rarely sets foot in the school during school hours. Unless someone tells me, or it's in Jack's communication notebook, I don't know what happens during the day.

So I'm always excited to go to open house days at the school. Yesterday was one of those days.

I went by Jack's class first, where it was snack time. I lurked in the back until Jack noticed me. When he saw me, his face burst into a giant smile and he shouted, "Hi, Mom!" Then he said, "Hey, everybody! That's my mom!" And then chaos ensued.

On a totally unrelated note, I'm sure teachers love open house day.

I got to meet all of Jack's table-mates, one of whom lives around the corner from us, but who doesn't really know us because her parents both work full time and she's not home when we're out and about. I think I freaked her out by telling her what her little brother's name is. Then another little girl at the table asked if I knew what her little sister's name was. And then more chaos ensued.

We discussed snack thievery, because Jack does that. And we discussed snack giving, which I tried to encourage.

Jack in the midst of snack thievery.

And then Jack showed me his cubby.

And then the little girl from around the corner followed Jack around the room giving him hugs. And then I adopted her and we lived happily ever after.

Shortly after that, we went to art class where the kids learned about texture and made rubbings of bumpy things.

I was a little nervous about how Jack would react to my leaving, but I explained that I was leaving to go see Sam's class and I would see him when he got off the bus, and he was completely fine.

I was so proud.

I headed down to Sam's classroom, where he is apparently the king of the first grade. All the kids were loving on him and saying, "You're my best friend," and whatnot. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that he'd brought cupcakes for his birthday.

There was one little girl who kept hugging Sam and saying, "He's the best boy." I remember being that girl. When I was in first grade my friends and I made lists of the boys we would chase at recess. Evidently Sam is on this girl's list.

By the way, the only other parent there was the parent of the kid who is allergic to the cupckes I brought. Hi there, I'm the mom who's excluding your child! Nice to meet you!

I guess something magical happens between kindergarten and first grade, because after the kindergartners had their snack, they milled aimlessly and asked classroom visitors bizarre questions about their relatives. The first graders all went to the book case, picked books, and started reading.

I used my time to poke inside Sam's desk, which brought back very strong memories of the desks I had in elementary school.

Then Sam's class went to art. Which I was totally happy about because the art room was a thousand degrees and I had to wear my sweatshirt because I had a big stain on my shirt that I had only noticed after I left the house.

But I did get to see Sam put crazy hair on his scary mask.

It was really cool to see Jack and Sam doing what they do all day. And seeing Jack was sort of encouraging. It's obvious that he's not like the other kids, but it's also obvious that he has some similarities.

Maybe I'll pursue that volunteering thing after all.


  1. Volunteering is a funny thing. When I was in school, my mom volunteered, but on purpose volunteered for a different classroom. She wanted to be there pitching in, without distracting me. A lot of school don't allow that anymore- you have to volunteer in your kid's class. Something about privacy issues. Weird.

  2. Sounds like a great day. It's weird, isn't it, to look in desks and have your own elementary memories flood in?!

  3. Jonathan's kindergarten teacher does not like volunteer's also. Fifteen mom's have to share Tuesday mornings from 8:30 to 10:30. (Luckily not all 24 kids parents want to volunteer) Therefore, I was Sept. 30th, and sometime next spring. I hate not knowing who the kids are in his class. The big kicker is that if we had stayed in Big Timber, Jonathan would have had a teacher that loves and encourages all volunteers. Oh well, I'll just be grateful for my two days of volunteer work this year.


  4. I would love to be a fly on the wall in my boys' classrooms. I'd love to see how they act when I'm not around.

    Open houses are fun but it's just not the same.

  5. You can come volunteer at our school any ole time you feel like it. It's only a short commute to California. Ben's poor teacher is fairly BEGGING for volunteers these days. And I am stuck at work. :-(

  6. I think its a little shady when teachers don't want parents volunteering in the classroom! I would think its so good for kids to see their parents getting involved, plus it lends a hand around the classroom, where hands are a little short. I mean, I can see that it might feel uncomfortable to try to teach when parents are lurking around at all times watching your every move... but at least for things like class parties, art projects, gym time, etc, it would be good to have volunteers, wouldn't it???

  7. I always loved getting that glimpse, and I was surprised what they could get my kids to do at school that I couldn't do at home. And there really is nothing like an elementary school kids desk to bring back the memories, is there!?

  8. I was that girl in grade one. And it wasn't the boy-chasing so much as the list-making that proved to be so telling.

  9. You have stumbled upon my newest and worst pet peeve.

    I've emailed, sent in the form, been CORI'd, and took the Protecting God's Children class, mandatory for catholic school volunteers. With the exception of the field trip, I've been totally blown off.

    You'd think they'd like the help. You'd think especially with the very bad rep catholic schools have right now, they'd have a super open door policy.

    I'm getting really frustrated.

  10. But I'm glad open house went so well for you.

    (what? it's not all about me??)

  11. I love being in the kids' classrooms. I even like going into Josie's crazy class. I like knowing their friends, and having a relationship with the teacher. I like being a special guest star, too, which is always gratifying! It also gives me insight on any problems they may be having, and ideas as to how to deal with them (like the ones Josie was having with those boys). Field trips aren't my favorite, though; they're so chaotic and get out of hand quickly. I like the organized routine of the classroom.


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