Thursday, September 13, 2007

School Daze

It has been 11 years since I completed my last degree (and by "last" I do not intend to mean "final," because I do in fact hope there is still one more in the cards for me; by "last" I simply mean the last one done to-date). All these years later, I still think in terms of semesters. As in, if the semester continues at its current pace, I will not make it to Winter Break. Of course part of this semester-oriented thinking could be due to the fact that I live in a University Town, where life is dominated by the academic schedule.

But the truth is, for me, it isn't just because the University is here, or even because I work for an institution that also structures its program year similarly. It's because, at heart, I am a schoolgirl. I LOVED school. Did you? I was shocked to find out recently that My Old Man did not look forward to the start of school when he was growing up. I thought everyone who was academically-inclined simply loved school, and especially the start of school. What's not to love? Buying new clothes, buying new school supplies, getting registered and finding out who your teachers are going to be, hoping to have a class with that cute guy on the cross country team, going out for cross country so maybe you could get to know that cute guy, throwing yourself at that cute guy until he finally asks you out and gives you his class ring and his varsity jacket and takes you to prom. Okay. Maybe that last part was just me.

At any rate, I always feel nostaglic at this time of year, when so many other people are going back to school, and I'm just doing the same old stuff. But not this year! My boys are not the only ones who get to have "happy scholastics" this year! See, they are going to a Cooperative Nursery School, which means I'm going to school, too. In a Co-op, the parents all run the school - they oversee the governance and administration, and do every job but the actual teaching (the only person on the payroll is the teacher). So 10-12 times a semester each of us assists in the classroom, as well as having volunteer jobs on top of that. Three mornings a week, my boys are in class. Nearly once a week, I'm there with them. It is actually exciting to me beyond rationality. Yes, I may be living vicariously a little bit. Also, there are snacks.

To answer the Great Totebag Question (i.e. why the rule about no backpacks only totebags), the totebags are a part of the school's "kidmail" system. The children hang their totebags on their little hooks and then the teacher and the assistants slip any papers or forms that need to go home with them into their bags. It's a pain for them to have to open so many different styles of bags, with flaps and latches and straps and such. Much easier to slip papers into 20 similarly-styled totebags all hanging in a row. I must say, the 20 totebags look very cute all hanging on their little pegs. There are two in particular that do. ;)

Rachel pointed out that I didn't give the same kind of rave review of Tiny Dancer's fabric choice as I did to Little Buddha's. It's true. While I really fell in love with the bright cars on black fabric that Little Buddha got (with, let's be honest, my strong and enthusiastic urging), I wasn't as taken with the train fabric with its unusual combination of orange-red, dark green, and grey. But the fact is, I am impressed with Tiny Dancer's choice - not only because it is understated and refined, but because he showed remarkable individuality in choosing it. I mean, given that his mother was next to him showing him every other possibility and saying eagerly, "What about this one? Look at these cute cars!" Tiny Dancer stuck to his guns, though. He wanted that particular train print and nothing else. I am actually loving the fabric more and more now, and, more importantly, it suits him.

On Wednesday, I got a few pics (sadly not particularly good quality) of the totebags in action on the way into their school. I love how the boys each have their own very specific way of toting their bags. Tiny Dancer likes to hold both straps in one hand, all twisted up together. Little Buddha holds one strap in each hand and carries them wide apart.





And a few action shots once the school day started. The play-based approach to the school is right up their alley:



Tiny Dancer plays with - what else- the trains


Little Buddha prepares for a puppet show

*sigh* Yay for school! Thank you all for your well wishes for happy scholastics for my boys. As you can see, they are enjoying happy scholastics indeed!

Coming soon: a non-child-related actual knitting FO of the only slightly-disappointing variety. I know you can hardly wait.

12 comments:

Rachel said...

I guess we can rule out the possibility that tote bag carrying preferences are learned in utero. :)

I always looked forward to the aspects of school that you described; not so much the contents of school itself, though. Buying notebooks and organizing and reorganizing my supplies and making elaborate charts of my daily schedule -- that I loved. It only too about two days for the novelty to wear off, though. I am looking forward to having my own kids one day so I can have the fun of the anticipation without any of the boring classes.

Felicia said...

Well their tote bags look pretty awesome.

Meredith said...

I always enjoyed school too, but I can't say I really want to go back at this point. Maybe someday, but first I'd have to figure out what I'd want to study. :)

Love the tote bag carrying photos! It's so funny how they've decided to carry them.

Christopher Chandler said...

I always wanted to enjoy school, because the idea of it really appealed to me, but the actual application of scholastics was often less than happy, particularly from about ages 12 to 18.

Now that I'm teaching, I love school. Today was my first day of teaching for the year, and it was so nice to be doing it again. I think I would love it more if there were less meetings and paperwork involved...

mames said...

they have the best smiles ever. we have a co-op preschool in our town, i look forward to being involved. already i have the boys at our local library reading session...never got to comment on the library post but that was a great one.

schrodinger said...

That school sounds great. If we were to have kids, I'd want to move to your town.

TracyKM said...

Little Buddha is going to be very ready for Hallowe'en! It never dawned on us to teach the kids how to hold open their loot bags, LOL.

Songbird said...

They are darned cute.

lyca said...

Hmmmm...as a high school student, I was somewhat unhappy when classes started because it meant getting up reallllly early. But I always liked seeing my friends all day (didn't like the jerks, though). When I was teaching, the start of school made me physically ill. I would be in denial about it...then couldn't sleep...then would be depressed....

Pretty good thing I got out of that and started doing something else, eh?

Becka the Spoiled Knitter said...

I loved school, too! I didn't realize it was a co-op, that is GREAT! They look as if they love it, too!
You have been tagged by 8 Things About Me! Lis got me and I'm spreading the love!

amisha said...

a co-op school... sounds so cool! i am with you on enthusiasm for the new school semester, even before i came back to school. i just really love school supplies :)

C. Joshua Villines said...

I hated school, especially as I got older. My Freshman year of High School I carried around three things in my backpack: a pillow, a walkman, and a book. I would go from class to class, drop my bag on my desk, turn on the walkman, and go to sleep with my head on the very cushy backpack. My argument was that if I could make A's on the tests, I shouldn't have to do busy work in class or at home.

Everything about school felt banal and institutionalizing, and each year I made increasingly melodramatic analogies to what I assumed prison was like in my poetry journal. (Yeah, I was an English geek, so sue me.) Melodrama aside, I was invited to speak to a group at a public high school recently and I discovered that just setting foot on the campus brought back all of those unpleasant associations. I felt genuinely anxious and uncomfortable the whole time I was there.

I suppose public school teaching won't be the best alternative if I never get a tenure-track position.