Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm Grateful

As a teacher mom the first day of school can be cause for much anxiety. Not being able to walk my own children into their classrooms on their first day I worry that I have prepared them well and that they are confident and happy entering school. Being on the other end of that equation for 54 students I worry that they all leave school on the first day feeling confident and happy to return the next day.

Today the mom in me was particularly anxious as my daughter was starting in a new district in a new school knowing absolutely nobody. She has always attended school in my district and the decision to leave and return to home district has been a tortuous one because she has had such a good academic experience there. The tipping point for my 6th grade daughter was ultimately a social one. She has missed out on many after school play dates and forming those close relationships that are so important at this stage in her development. I am so proud of her for being able to articulate her thoughts and feelings and for being courageous enough to make the ultimate leap. It didn't stop me being worried sick about her today! While she put on a brave face I knew she was anxious and our parting this morning included an extra tight and lingering hug.

My little guy was oblivious to my concerns for him until we actually reached school this morning. After an unusually quite drive to school with no bickering due to the absence of his sister he began to realize for the first time that things were going to be different this year. As we approached Kids Club he told me he felt strange and nervous. The lack of big sister’s presence to guide and reassure him suddenly dawned. He didn't know where his new classroom was, he was going to be left alone to face his first day and once again, I was so proud of my child’s ability to deal with change. We checked out his classroom, shared the burden of his school supplies and walked a little slower to his destination. I was somewhat reassured that he was okay when he refused to hug me, but still my heart ached as I left.

Shifting gears into teacher mode didn't distract me as much as it usually does today. As an anxious mom I became acutely aware of the enormity of my role in welcoming and settling in my own students. Every greeting, every direction, every word was given through the lens of my own children’s eyes and anxieties. Seeing both sides of the coin I think is one of the greatest advantages of being a teacher mom.

I couldn't wait to reconnect with my own two kids at the end of the day and was thrilled to be met with bubbling tales of a great day. This evening was spent listening to every detail and, awash with relief, thank you notes were penned to both of their teachers. Tonight I feel so proud that my own two kids are growing independent and strong, and tremendously grateful that they have spent the day with amazing educators who have made them feel welcome and safe and excited to learn. I can only hope that my students are as enthusiastic about day two

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