Friday, September 08, 2006


Meeting the teacher

It's late (well, after dark) and I'm beyond tired, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about Tristan's first-first day (as opposed to his first small-class day, and his first whole-class day) on Wednesday. I'm not sure I have enough brainpower left to create a cohesive narrative arc, so bear with me as we bullet this out.

  • Tristan's actual teacher is on leave until the end of September, so his school career starts with a supply teacher. This doesn't particularly bother me, except I feel I have to explain to him that these women will not be his regular teachers. It simply complicates everything - because this week's theme seems to be complication.
  • We walk in the door and are greeted with a cheery "Bonjour!" and I freeze like Bambi on the train tracks. "Um, er, allo," I stumble, "Ici, this is Tristan." They immediately switch to English, but I later learn that they alternate weeks in English and French, and what they study in one week in English (the family, the parts of the body, etc) they learn the next week in French. This is French week.
  • For the first of what I expect will be innumerable times in years to come, I am called "Mrs (Beloved's Lastname)" instead of Tristan's hypenated surname or even my own name.
  • I am way too big to sit in a kindergarten chair gracefully, especially in low-riding jeans that are a little too tight after a summer of indulgence.
  • The kids are to be dropped off precisely between 8:50 and 9:00. This worries the control freak in me who will not be doing the drop-off.
  • Tristan is so ready for this. While I talked to one teacher about rules and expectations and the usual paperwork, the other teacher showed him around the classroom, and Tristan took it all in with huge, glowing eyes.
  • It was hard not to choke and gulp a little bit when I overheard her telling him "And this is where we pray to Jesus."
  • I am eternally grateful that the train conductor hats were immediately beside the pray-to-Jesus station, and Tristan was distracted enough by them to leave off questioning the prayer station - for now.
  • Mommies are not welcome to stay for the first day. (sob!)
  • They have a clever idea of a parent-teacher communication folder, which is basically an 9x11 laminated folder that goes back and forth every day with notes back and forth. Unfortunately, Tristan's TtFTE backpack is too small, and we will have to buy a larger one for school.
  • There are two junior kindergarten classes. The school is much larger than I realized. There seems to be at least two classes of each grade, up to Grade 6. For Grade 7, they move to the local high school. Thinking of Tristan going off to high school gives me anxiety pangs already!
  • We need to buy new shoes, even though we just bought new shoes. One pair stays at the school as 'indoor shoes'. We also need to supply a box of kleenex, and a box of large ziploc baggies.
  • Each parent is obligated to make a batch of home-made playdough one week of the school year. My week is in February, which gives me lots of time to practice the recipe - thank god. Do you think they'll notice if I just buy bulk and pass it off as mine? (I can't take credit for this idea - but can't remember who did it. Was it Jen?)
  • I'm feeling a little left out of the whole school process because Beloved will be dropping Tristan off in the morning, and the daycare provider will be picking him up at 11:30. The teachers won't know me from Adam. I'm going through working-mother angst all over again.

His first official day (with a small group) is Wednesday - you can expect more hand-wringing and angst within the week!