Saturday, September 30, 2006

Redeeming Qualities

Marking the end of the back-to-school season, and the beginning of serious work is the little soiree known as "Curriculum Night". This night allows parents to visit their children's classrooms, meet the teachers (if they haven't done so already), get acquainted with the workings of the classroom and snoop in their kid's desk.

I love Curriculum Night because it always reminds me of being an elementary student myself, sitting in those tiny chairs with my knees shoved under the desk, listening to the teacher lecture from an overhead projector while fiddling with a pink pearl eraser.

This is our 4th year with Wyatt's teacher, Mrs. Nielsen-Valadez. She looped from 1st-2nd grade with McRae, and now has looped again with Wyatt's 1st grade class into 2nd grade this year. It is wonderful to have such a close relationship with your child's teacher like we have with her. I trust her implicitly, I admire her patience and enthusiasm for each student in her class. I wish she could "loop up" the entire elementary system with my kids. We are very grateful for this exceptional teacher and so far, Wyatt is again, the top of his class and a model student. He does, however, need a bigger pencil box (I found this out while snooping in his desk).

After we visited Wyatt's classroom, it was on to room #12, McRae's classroom. His teacher is also the parent of a buddy of McRae's from kindergarten. I was pleased to find out that she has actually taught 10 years of elementary school before staying home with her boys for 5 years, and then to return to teaching 3 years ago. I was a little worried about her qualifications for being the "Hi-Cap" cluster teacher for 4th grade, but after finding out that her older son (who is in 7th grade now) was/is also in the "gifted" program, I am more at ease. She seems prepared and more than ready for the challenge of teaching these types of students, McRae loves her and is excited to go to school every day.

McRae's desk was full of his completed work, his journals and math books, and a copy of "The Black Stallion", which the whole class is reading this trimester. We also found a fun little "activity" to complete, a "see how well you know your child" worksheet where McRae answered the questions in class, and then we're supposed to fold the paper over and see if we answer them the same way he did, according to how we think he would answer.

The questions were pretty basic, like "What is your child's favorite color, food, friend, book, sport, etc.". We got most of them right, being only surprised by a few, most shocking of those surprises was this one:

What is your child's favorite person outside the immediate family?

I guessed his cousin Luke, since he's not in our immediate family.

McRae's answer: George W. Bush.

I hung my head in shame, I said "he can't possibly be related to me". Another parent gave me the "thumbs up", I wasn't sure if this was because my son answered the question with the most bizarre answer imaginable, or he was pleased with my comment. This throws that whole "being President" conversation out the door to be devoured by hungry republican wolves, I was so sad, so very sad.

Good thing McRae's Taekwondo belt ceremony was today.

He graduated from white to yellow belt, respectively. He won a "Student of the Month" trophy for completing the Five Stripe Program.

I can now breathe a little better knowing that my little republican is being schooled in the art of taekwondo, whose principles are more in sync with the whole world, not it's own little corner (Texas) and it's own little profits (from oil). I was so proud of him this morning, regardless of his political beliefs, he's still my son, my world and I love him.


Mel said...

Ouch. No, seriously, OUCH! Dude. At least you are raising him to have his own opinions and ideas, and that's something to be proud of.
And I'm jealous... my older girl's in a gifted program too, and so has had the same five teachers for four years; my younger girl is a little more toward the middle of the road for academics, and so has changed teachers every year so far.

LindaJ said...

Oh, I hang my head i n shame, one, I'm not his favorite, two, George? I guess this is where I say, I love you for who your are huh? I still have a chance with the others. REPUBLICAN? Where did I go wrong?

mom said...


Guess those "visits with Grammie" aren't working.....

but, oh, do I love him, anyway

Nut's mom said...


Well, maybe it was a joke? he he he?


Lisa said...

That is so funny. It is amazing what goes on in their heads. Is he a member of the Young Republicans yet? If not, he maybe some day. (Brace yourself. heehee.)

Christina_the_wench said...

Good teachers are a true blessing. They do not get paid enough.

Left Coast Sister said...

That's hilarious! Dub-yuh, huh? So very young and impressionable. Maybe a membership in Parents of Young Recovering Republicans is in your future?

Angry Dad said...

Well done to McRae on the Yellow Belt. Having just been there with Ethan, I know how proud it can make you!
You can probably put the whole Bush thing down to mass media hype.. hopefully! I don't think you have that much to worry about.

Gen said... just came out my nose!!! Hilarious!

Kristin said...

NO!!! And here I was all set to vote for McRae... shame.

Mamacita Tina said...

You'll just have to let that whole bush thing slide.

I loved changing grades and teaching the same students again. I went from third to sixth, absolutely loved seeing how these amazing children were growing/changing/learning/becoming their own person. Four years in a row I had two families with children in my room. The last day of school for the youngest sibling, one of the mothers came to give me a big hug. We both cried.