Even though school started at the beginning of September, obviously Hayley missed it since we were in Halifax. In the end she missed eight days; it could have been seven since we got back on Thursday but I knew she was exhausted so I kept her home to get her back on a normal schedule and started her this past Monday.
She was very nervous because her homeroom teacher is her French teacher and she was convinced that she wouldn’t be allowed to speak English at all and that she’d have French all day long. I continually reassured her that it only meant she had French first thing in the morning while the other class had English, and that they would then switch. I also told her that her teacher understands that it’s an English school with French immersion and that all the kids are at varying levels of comprehension and that she would certainly help her out if she didn’t know how to say something properly.
Hayley was excited on her first day of school, mostly because she wanted to see her friends, but at the end of the day she discovered that I was right. It’s still pretty intensive with the French but it’s the same amount and program that she would have had if she had ended up in the other class. She was also thrilled to find out that her teacher from grade one would be teaching her math this year.
The week went pretty well. She was very unenthused about going to school on Thursday and there were some tears based on the fact that she felt like she was getting sick but she had no fever and had missed those eight days so I smiled brightly and sent her off to school anyway. Luckily no one from the school called to say that my daughter had H1N1 and to come pick her up, but she was right in the end – she was getting sick and has a bit of a mild cold now. Oh the joys of being back at school! Still, at least she had a great day.
In the agenda they have, there’s a place each day where you can circle a smiley face to represent how the day went. There’s a happy face, a neutral face, and a sad face. I was amused to note that she had originally circled the neutral face but then later erased it to choose the happy face, so I’m glad I made her go.
Friday was a ped day because Thursday night was a parents’ general assembly and meet the teacher night where you can learn a bit about the curriculum and how the teacher works the classroom. Her homeroom/French/drama teacher is super nice. Her English is very good but she explained that she encourages the kids to use French 99% of the time unless they’re really struggling because if you’re always speaking in English how on earth are you ever going to learn French? She has helpful signs placed around the classroom with common phrases including “Est-ce que je peux aller a la toilette?” (“Can I go to the bathroom?”) and whatnot to assist the kids in expressing themselves.
Her English teacher (or rather, her Language Arts teacher) is awesome. I love her classroom. They have a great program but she also has free time activities that she has set up into stations for the kids to help them learn some independence. They take about 15 minutes each day and the kids can choose what they want to do – there’s reading (and they can read anywhere, even sprawled on the floor), writing (Hayley chose this one all week, you can write anything you’d like), listening to audio books while watching the words on screen, or reading with a partner.
My big new beginning came about during the general assembly. The school’s Governing Board had three openings since other parents had left once their kids graduated. A friend of mine asked if I’d run for one of the positions and I confessed that I’d really love to although I was nervous at having to give a speech if more than three people were interested and a vote was necessary. When nominations opened, two people were nominated right away and then there was a moment of silence. My friend and I looked at each other and I nodded so she threw my name out there too.
Luckily for me no one else ran so there was no need to do a speech to convince people to vote for me. I’m good at writing speeches but I can tell you from my leg-shaking nerves (literally) at my sister’s wedding, speeches are scary for me – it’s the whole panic attack issue. I can talk in small groups but getting up in front of a gym full of other parents, most of whom I don’t know, well. Augh. I would have done it if was necessary and I had my reasons for wanting to run ready in my head but I’m just relieved that it wasn’t necessary.
And so now I’m suddenly a part of a board that makes an awful lot of decisions about the school, including allocating funds, programs, and much more. I’m very excited about it. I’ve always wanted to be a big part of my kids’ school and the past two years I’ve let my panic issues stop me. This is the year that I stop letting it dictate my life and take it back a bit. I’m looking forward to doing this. I also joined the PPO (Parent Participation Organization, pretty much the same as the PTA in the U.S.) and that should be fun too.
It’s a whole new year, let’s see how it all goes. I still can’t believe I’m the mother of a grade two kid!