Tales of a Couple of Fourth Graders

My fourth-grade school picture

My son is a fourth-grader this year.  He went back to school yesterday.  We had an incredible summer, full of adventures, and laughter, and silliness, and learning.  Because I don’t believe those things are mutually exclusive.

I’m feeling a range of emotions about Ryan being a fourth-grader.  For one, he’s a fourth-grader!  As in, look how fast this is happening!  And secondly, he’s a fourth-grader, and six of my twelve years as a teacher were spent teaching fourth grade.

I didn’t like my fourth grade teacher.  She scared me.  She made me think that making mistakes was bad.  She would hold up my papers and show the class the errors I had made.  She used to have me wait in line at lunch time, to buy her a lunch at the student rate.  (Even though I always brought a lunch from home).  She gave me her home phone number and often asked me to call her and remind her of things to bring to class.  And I never said no.

When I became a fourth grade teacher, I was nervous about the change in curriculum, the larger class size.  But mostly I was scared of doing it wrong.  And that’s what Mrs. E. did teach me — what not to do as a teacher.

But now it’s Ryan’s turn.  And after a summer spent exploring a presidential library and walking onboard Air Force One, after a summer of reading, and bike riding, after a summer of questions and wonderings, I wish for him a school year of adventures, and laughter, and silliness, and learning.

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More publication news! My personal essay, “My Son Is Already Becoming My Caretaker – And It’s Both Heartbreaking and Inspiring,” has recently been published at Mother.ly.  You can click here to read it.

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