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.