Summer is Over

September 6th, 2006

Isaiah started school today. The summer of 2006 is over. And so is the only first day of second grade Isaiah will ever have.

I took the day off and I am glad I did. Ruth is the president of the parent’s club again, so my helpful presence was useful. Especially since today was not only the first day of school– it was “Opening Day”. The principal and the ‘leadership team’ (which is a group of staff members and parent’s who make such decisions- though Ruth is currently the only parent in the group) decided it might increase parent involvement to make an event of the day. It was only going to be a half day anyway, so they came up with the idea to make it a day for the parents as well as students. The parents would go with their kids the class to meet the teacher and see the room, and then go back to the gym for an informational presentation by the principal. After that they would break into groups and go on a tour of the building which would end in the library for another informational session with the principal and the parent’s club.

School starts at 8:15 this year, but since we are so involved at the school, we got there about an hour before that. Ruth had a few more decorations to put up and some things to get set up before the deluge of students.

There weren’t too many people around when we arrived other than staff members who were scurrying around in final preparations. I told Isaiah and Gideon to sit on a bench just inside the front door by the office while Ruth and I worked on some stuff nearby. It wasn’t very long before a woman brought some kids in and went in the office. A moment or two later a little girl about Isaiah’s age came out of the office and sat down right beside him and introduced herself. I was just out of earshot, but apparently Isaiah is back to his old tricks because they talked happily till the girl’s came out of the office and got her.

About a quarter to eight we went to the gym and Isaiah found the row he will be sitting in each morning before school. Each grade sat in one section and the different classes sat in respective rows in the sections. Just a few minutes after Isaiah sat in his spot his good buddy Andrew showed up and we discovered they are in the same class. Isaiah went to preschool with Andrew and they were at the same school but not in the same class in kindergarten and first grade. They were both happy about the situation. We still owe Andrew a trip to the zoo with us from a promise made in preschool– maybe this will be the year we finally make good.

We left Isaiah in the gym and went out behind the school to make sure that there were enough parent helpers present to make sure all the bus riding kids got in the building and got their bus numbers noted by their names. Gideon came trotting along with us, holding my hand. He was a little subdued, but I figured it was cause he had gotten up extra early and was in a new environment. Buses weren’t scheduled to show up for a few more minutes, but the situation was under control with the number of helpers there so we went back in. Ruth and Gideon went off to talk to somebody and I, having nothing better to do, went back to the gym.

Going to the gym turned out to be a good thing for me to do. The school Isaiah is going to contains kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year it was a middle school so it was the first day at a new building for every single kid there– most of them had little if any idea of where to go and the abovementioned deluge was beginning with a rapidly intensifying trickle which rapidly became a downpour and most of them had no clue what was going on. I stood by the door of the gym and ran my mouth dry by saying “Second grade in this section, third grade is in the middle, fourth and fifth are on the other end and teacher names and class numbers are on the ends of the rows.” for about a half an hour, but I know I helped a lot of people. In fact I was repeating these words as I waved to Isaiah when he lined up and followed his class out of the crowded gym.

Ruth came by a few minutes later and we went down to Isaiah’s classroom. It’s a pretty cool room. It’s on the corner of the building and has windows on two walls with one row of them looking out over the playground. It looks like he is in a fairly decent group of kids and his teacher seems OK so far.

Isaiah had been a little nervous about the new year, but I had a little talk with him this morning about it. I told him that if he wanted to have a good year, he could and that whether or not he has a good year is entirely up to him based on his attitude. I told him that if he decided to have a good year and reacted properly in each situation he would have a good year. I told him that there is nothing to worry about because God is taking care of us. I turned his Bible to Romans 8:28 and made him read it. Our talk must have sunk in to some degree because he went from being apprehensive to positive and excited.

Once the kids had gotten settled in the classroom and role had been taken they all went out in the hallway to find their lockers. Isaiah thinks it’s cool that he’s going to have an actual locker for the first time. After stowing their back packs they went back into class and worked on dealing with their supplies, pencils and crayons and such.

At nine-fifty the bell rang and it was time for parents to go back to the gym to hear the principal talk about parking, drop-off procedures, and similar topics. Then we went on a guided tour of the building. It’s a pretty large building for an elementary school with two floors. The tour ended up in the library. By the time we got in there, the tables were pretty much filled up so Gideon and I sat on library stools by a wall of books not far from where Ruth was standing at the Parent’s club table. Ruth got us some juice and cookies and we waited for the rest of the parents to get to the library.

Gideon was being pretty good. He ate his cookie and drank his punch. Of course, he didn’t want me to hold either one for him. He wanted to lay his napkin on his lap and put his cookie on it just like I did. The talking started to get boring to him after a while, though, so I helped myself to the books right behind us. We looked at a book about lightning, one about planets, and several animal and bug books. He did a good job picking out the animals. He knew the sloth, but kept calling jaguars tigers and camels llamas. I was surprised he didn’t know the porcupine, but he does now.

After the presentation was over in the library Ruth went out to the van for something and took Gideon with her. I made my way slowly down towards Isaiah’s class room because I knew it would soon be time for class to be over and sure enough just as I got there they were walking out of the room. I walked with him upstairs and we walked most of the way to the gym with Andrew. Then Ruth found us and we got in the van. Then we sat.

We had parked out front when we got there and there were almost no vehicles out there. Now we were totally blocked in by school buses and other, mostly unattended cars and minivans. It was OK, though, we just sat there and listened to the radio and talked about school for a while. The temperature was nice and it wasn’t a problem waiting.

Isaiah likes his class and his teacher and he is excited about the new year. So am I. It will be a new experience for him in a much larger school building with a lot more kids in it, but I am sure he will do great. After all, he already understands the secret of how to have a good year. Later in the day when I asked him who was responsible for him having a good year he replied “I am!”