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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[…] I’d like to share with you memories of my own fifth grade year. (To remind you, you can click here to read about my fourth grade experiences and click here to read about my life in third […]