I have been suffering from severe writer’s block as of late. I have nothing to say. But a trip to first grade on yesterday seems worthy of at least a few words.
Breezy attends a charter school where they have no cafeteria. Guests wait in the lobby until they are accompanied by their host to the classroom to eat. Breezy herself came to walk me the twenty feet or so to her classroom.
Her pod of desks, four in all, was the first one inside the door. It was suggested that I sit in her chair and that Breezy sit on a little black stool along side me. Two boys and a little blue-eyed red-haired girl named Emma joined us.
Someone asked the boy next to me if I was his mother. He said, “No! My mother is not that old!” The kids all discussed how old I was so I told them–58. The boy said, “My papa was 66 but he had passed.” Breezy and I told him that one of her pawpaw’s had died this summer. Breezy included many details I hadn’t heard her talk about before. We had an open conversation about the death of family members.
We talked a lot about food and the possible trading of such. There were pizza rolls, Chips Ahoy cookies, Hershey’s chocolates, Hot Pockets, yogurt, all manner of good things. The teacher controlled the microwave if anyone needed it.
One boy asked me, “Do you know there are 22 kids in this room?” Uh well yes, it seems like every bit of 22, or 122, I thought to myself.
The 30 minutes went by quickly and it was time for us to clean up and for me to leave. I had to go to the front desk to “check Breezy out” as she was spending the remainder of Friday afternoon with me. The little red-haired hair girl thanked me for spending time with them; she’d enjoyed the visit, she said.
An adorable blond-haired girl at the next table said something to me. I bent down and said “What did you say sweetie?” “Next time you come, don’t take Breezy,” she repeated. Ahhh. Ok if I come, but don’t mess around with their first grade routine. Alrighty then.
As we escaped across the parking lot Breezy told me, “Don’t listen to her!,” referring to her classmate who wanted her to stay. I told her it just means that she likes her and enjoys being in class with her.
Breezy has told me many times that she doesn’t like school. I don’t know why. She’s smart, she’s very socialable, her teachers are nice, the kids are sweet. I think she doesn’t like being trapped in a small room all day. She says “it’s boring.”
I hated first grade too, and then loved school every year thereafter, so much so that I went to public school for 12 years and college for another 9. Ultimately I chose education for a career and am in my 37th year working in higher education. We’ll have to see how it goes for Breezy.
But after spending 30 minutes in her crowded classroom, I can see why she doesn’t love it. It’s been over 50 years since I hated first grade. Can’t say I’ve changed all that much.
My heart goes out to all those 6-year-olds out there! How about you? Did you like or hate first grade? Same for your kids or grandkids?