Gilbert’s school is in a trailer right now, but they should move into their new building in November. He has two teachers and there are nine students. Some of the students have developmental delays, which is part of the commitment to the preschool to start inclusion practices early. Gilbert is the oldest kid in his class. We think they must have split the group into those who were already four and those who will turn four in the next few months. There are five September birthdays in his class! I think all of those kids will go to kindergarten next year, as our cut off day is September 30th, but who knows? A few people asked me already if we are sending him next year, as if it’s a choice. I think there’s no reason to hold him back, even if he will be among the youngest.
For his birthday, I took in strawberries and whipped cream. He had a birthday crown and was pretty happy to pass out napkins and plates to his classmates. He was deeply disappointed to discover that I wasn’t going to take him home with me, but I drove the Vespa for precisely that reason that he wouldn’t expect it. He was eating his strawberries really slowly, hoping that I would stay until he finished. He likes school, and he does well there; however, he continues to hope that he’ll just get to stay home with us. I’d let him, but there’s not much for him to do at home when we’re working or tending to the baby.
The first week back to school wears the kids out, so of course, they got sick. We’ve had fevers, coughs, and earaches. Oh man. We already had to pick Gilbert up from school for a fever. He did go see the nurse though, which he thought was interesting. One thing I do like is that his teacher has gotten to know him well enough to realize that he was not himself at all.
In the good news vein, Seamus is fathoms deep in love with going to kindergarten. He does want to buy lunch (or at least the sweet stuff he sees there), but he’s been pretty satisfied to take the lunches I make for him. His teacher calls cross-legged sitting “Criss cross chocolate sauce” which Seamus thinks is hilarious. They have a choices system of discipline in which the kids pull cards if they make a bad choice. Seamus declared that he wasn’t going to pull a card all year. I have a couple of stories for him when the inevitable happens. He will at some point have to pull a card. He’s clumsy, and there will be something that he can’t control happen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It happened to me in first grade, too.
They have Spanish, music, library, and PE. Seamus finds it awesome that they get to go to the “gym which is really the lunch room with the tables put away” and the small library. He likes that the other teachers come into his room. They had a fire drill, and Seamus apparently was asking too many questions during their practice the day before the drill. His teacher said, “Okay, no more questions, we need to leave the room.” Seamus replied, “Well, we’re all just really curious.” I think she might have learned how obsessive he gets about all facets of a problem.
There’s a bathroom in his room, there are 17 students in his class, and there are two adults in the room at all times. It feels almost criminal that only 15 miles away, there is a school my friend teaches in where he is the only teacher for 20 students, there are multiple behavior problems, and the nearest bathroom is downstairs. Income inequality and privilege starts really young.
My teaching is going well. I kind of forgot that teaching 101 is not just about teaching writing, but also about teaching freshmen how to be college students. I love that part of it. I also had a fantastic experience teaching Travels with Charley to my American Dream class. They had a lot of insightful things to say about the text, from discussions of masculinity in the writing to comments about the Cold War. I like being back to work, but I told Patrick I don’t really feel like things will even out until another couple of weeks are past. By then, the semester will be ¼ of the way over!
The picture of Gilbert getting off the bus is not as positive.