The Best Year of Their School Lives?

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Mom's Class.

This blog is probably a little overdue, but I’ve been hesitate because I didn’t want to jinx the situation.

If you remember (and you probably don’t’), the Evil Spawn is in her mother’s class this year.

Yes, they are both confined to the same 4th grade room for 9 long months.

When this opportunity presented itself, my reaction was like most of my reactions.

How does this effect me?

My conclusion was it wasn’t going to be good.

Not good at all.

The fights.  The homework.  The awkward Parent-Teacher Conference.

The arguments at home about the fights, homework, and what a bad father/parent I am.

The worst part?  Me playing the complicated role of both room dad and husband (this could be my only chance at finally win a well-deserved Oscar… my one regret is I haven’t gained 150 pounds and used an accent for the role).

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see much upside to this school year.

Again, for me.

But they both believed this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

And since I had no say, I took the position of “I’m all for it”.

For them this was the being in the right school, at the right age, at the right time.

As an administrator, I’m not sure I would have placed a teacher’s child in his or her classroom because of the numerous variables.

The kid.  The teacher.  The students.  The other staff members.

A lot could go wrong (and in school, it frequently does).

But, I’m happy to report (knock on wood) it seems to be going great.

But, I’m sad to report I think this has less to do with my wife and daughter and more to do with the other kids.

The Evil Spawn and her deadbeat friends seem to be a very good class. 

There are three types of classes. 

One, which comes along about every 5 years, is the class that makes kindergarten teachers cry in the hallway.  On the first day of school.

Once, these kindergarten teachers compose themselves, they immediately run to the teacher’s lounge and warn all the other teachers to make sure they retire the year before they get these heathens in class.

Then they go back to crying.

The second type of class are the duds.  Good kids, but they have no interest in anything.

The don’t like school.  Or reading.  Or work.   Or athletics.  Or even breathing.

They are just there.

Then there’s the third type.  The great class.  They are also on a five year cycle (so it works like this… terrible, dud, great, dud, dud,… and the cycle continues).

Teachers love the great classes.  This is what gets them to return from summer vacation.

And not retire.  In fact, there is no evidence a teacher has ever retired the year before they were to get a great class.

When they have a great class they love it.  The year flies by far too quickly.

They actually get to teach and not play referee.

This makes teachers very happy.

These kids are easily recognizable because they love everything.

A class like this so special because they like each other.  This may sound like a simple concept, but if you have ever been in a room with 25 students you know how important this is.

They are supportive, not demeaning.  They are happy and upbeat, not cranky and put-out.  They don’t want less work, they want more challenging assignments.  They are competitive, but gracious in losing.

They are so good as a group, they can even pull other students towards success.

This is the class my daughter has stumbled into (props to my wife for excellent birthing timing).

Being with a great group has allowed my wife and daughter to have a wonderful half-year.

Will it last?  Time will tell.

From my perspective, I hope so.

A once in a lifetime opportunity only seems to happen about once a lifetime.

Note to readers… wife not happy with “excellent birthing timing” reference.  In fact, any reference to all things pregnant makes her nervous.

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5 Responses to “The Best Year of Their School Lives?”

  1. Ryan
    on Dec 12th, 2010
    @ 1:38 pm

    These wife/ daughter posts have been so great.

    Is there a discussion of how schools respond — and I don’t mean as an individual teacher / manager, but rather as a team — to the culture of the group that makes the kindergarten teacher cry? Can they be turned?

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Ryan, Can they be turned?

    I thinks so because often time it’s simply a maturity issue.

  2. Laura
    on Dec 12th, 2010
    @ 4:23 pm

    I admire her bravery. I’m student teaching next semester, and although I did ask to go to my childrens’ school, I asked specifically for a teacher that didn’t have either of my children in her class. (First, I feel fortunate to be able to go to a school that I know with a staff that I know and say “this is the person I want to work with”… because I know she’ll actually teach me some stuff and make this a worthwhile and educative experience which is what every student teacher needs!)

    In the past when I have volunteered in my daughters’ classroom, all she did was cling to me. My son on the other hand feels that mom in the room = ticket to ride; he gets a sense of entitlement. Either way, it’s not good.

    I’m glad to see that your daughter and wife are able to be in the same room and that it’s still mutually beneficial.

  3. Jim J.
    on Dec 13th, 2010
    @ 9:24 am

    Do you think the “great class” chemistry would endure in classes of 35+ students? That’s what CA teachers are dealing with now. So far “the jury’s out” but preliminary reports are not promising…

  4. Alicia Kessler
    on Dec 15th, 2010
    @ 1:29 pm

    The note to readers made me laugh so hard tears nearly shot out of my eyes. Glad they are having a great year – and loved the animoto video.

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