It’s our second year at an American school and I’m so glad the awkwardness and confusion is over.
Last year I felt as though I was in a fog the entire year. Didn’t know where to go, what was happening, what each school event or protocol was. At their last school, I was on top of everything. Dates were scheduled in my diary, costumes for plays made, meetings attended. I knew the layout of the school year and what happened when.
This year, I seem to have missed everything. Deadlines have gone by and I’ve been oblivious. Events have come and gone and I’ve not known what they were. For someone who’s normally organized and early for meetings, it’s driven me crazy.
We were asked at the beginning of the last school year about volunteering to be Room Moms. That sounded quite interesting to me so I put the question out on Twitter: What do room moms do? One response was, ‘Run, don’t walk, run away from being a Room Mom.’ It seems that they organize class parties and events, generally help out the teacher and it’s a lot of work.
I did actually start helping out in the classroom one morning a week but the children were more in awe of my accent and vocabulary then me helping them, so I’m not convinced I did any good. We also were working on money using sheets that were in black and white and with each coin the same size. When they’re all the same size, they all look the same. I didn’t have a clue and neither did the children, it was like the blind leading the blind. I’d finally work out which one was the smarty pants of the group and casually ask “What do you think this one could be, a dime or a quarter?’ It’s to encourage the children to learn the faces on the coins. I’m still clueless.
We’ve got Big Thursday coming up next week. Last year we didn’t have a clue what this meant so we went along with all our school paperwork and joined the crowds of parents and pupils waiting to hand in their envelopes and then go and mingle with the teachers. We didn’t know who any of the teachers were and felt lost as everyone said hello to one another, excited to be catching up with all their school friends after the long summer vacation.
This year, it will be so much better. We know the school and teachers so we won’t be trying to work out who’s who. The boys will be delighted to see their classmates and will probably go running off to see them.
The whole Big Thursday thing is a great idea. We don’t have this in the UK. I thought it was a US wide thing, but having spoken to another mum outside of our school district, I realized it’s not, but it should be. Big Thursday gives the children a slow journey back into school. For an hour or so, you hang out in the school courtyard, chatting to the teachers, parents and friends. You find out who your child’s teacher is going to be and go and say hello. It’s all very relaxed, laid back and a nice way to start the school year. The first day of school is suddenly less intimidating. You’ve already popped in for an hour, the end of summer has been signaled, you remember what the school looks like inside, now you just need to go back and settle in.
Summer’s over, I’m afraid.
Lorna Harris is a a British native living in Orange Country, California. She writes about her life in the US, her family, travels and what she misses about the UK (and why it’s better - sometimes) on her blog Califlorna.
Photo Credit: Califlorna