(Taking it back a little, since I inadvertently took a long hiatus...)
One of the biggest things for kids as they approach the start of a new school year is finding out which teacher they will get. At our school, they e-mail this information the day before meet the teacher night (I hate this because I know they know where all returning students are placed at the end of the previous year, but yet they wait until the last second, come on now). Now for Sammy, it was a non-issue, because the school does something called looping, which essentially means you get the same teacher 2 years in a row (the advantages of this system, I don't really see, but whatever, no stress for us there this year). But it was Sabrina's year for a new teacher, her first switch up since starting elementary school.
I was ridiculously nervous waiting to find out which teacher we'd have. Yes, we. I was planning on signing up for room mom duty or helping out in whatever way I could, and I wanted to know if the teacher and I would mesh, as well as the class makeup, so I'd know what parents I'd be dealing with. Sabrina was largely oblivious that day. She just wanted some of her friends in her class, and to be separated from a handful of kids who caused her trouble in the past. We weren't even home when the e-mails went out, and I know this because Facebook blew up. Oh, Facebook. I was able to see who lots of families got and had a good idea of class dispersion before I even got home. I decided to wait and check our e-mail after we'd made it back.
I really wasn't worried because all the teachers are lovely - just amped to pull the envelope. And to be honest, I was hoping we wouldn't get the brand new, fresh out of college teacher just so I could avoid that particular set of unknowns. So I sat down, took a deep breath, and opened my e-mail.There at the top was a message with the subject line "Welcome to Second Grade!" courtesy of Mr. W.
Cool, a male teacher. We don't see a lot of those in these parts, especially in elementary school.
I called Sabrina over and excited told her her teacher's name. And she burst into tears.
She was terrified because Mr. W had a reputation of being "mean." Which I knew meant strict. But I also knew that every family who'd had Mr. W in the past had nothing but glowing things to say about him. But watching my little girl's face fall and then crumple with worry was awful.
This is where I have to eat my words and say I was glad for the delayed news and that meet the teacher was a mere 24 hours away. Because as soon as Sabrina met Mr. W, it was clear they were kindred spirits. Whew!
So now, we're a quarter of the way into the year, and everything seems to be rolling smoothly. Mr. W takes no guff from any of his students, but he loves them fiercely. Sabrina thinks it's hilarious that he makes up crazy nicknames for the kids or calls them by their last names. He must be bringing out good things in her because she volunteers for extra homework so she can get ahead. I love to hear her stories when she comes home. And it's easy to be his room parent - no strange requests of ultra strict requirements. But (there's always a but). His birthday is coming up, and I'm in charge of putting together the class gift. I've never done that for a male teacher. I can't exactly get him a mani/pedi, you know? I mean I could, but he probably wouldn't appreciate it very much.
So this is a learning experience for all of us.
(I really don't have any way to wrap this up, except to say that all ideas are welcome and appreciated. I mean, I have a hard time buying birthday gifts for my husband, so this is darn near impossible. Hit me.)