We had our first week of kindergarten last week. Such exciting times! I posted photos online (of course — they’re practically mandatory these days) and even wrote a blog post about the whole experience. It’s a momentous occasion in your child’s life and, yet, I can’t help but feel that my child’s school let me down.
By way of backstory, we actually put in for a transfer to this school. The principal has a reputation for his charismatic attitude and unconventional ways of getting every kid where they need to be. One speech from him in the kindergarten roundup and I was sold. While this school had less funding than the school we were supposed to go to and, therefore, a few less bells and whistles on the technical front, we were caught up in the principal’s school spirit and the fact that he puts his funding into finding quality teachers.
When we went to the ice cream social the night before school started, we anticipated that it would not only be fun but that we would have so many questions answered. We still didn't even know who our son’s teacher was going to be or where his classroom was! We didn't know if he was “early bird” or “late owl,” and when I had inquired about it in their office, the administrative assistant explained they wait until the last minute as they, themselves, don’t even know how the teacher assignments will shake out. If you’re a planner or an anxious parent or someone who has never had a child go to school before, this can cause distress. Unfortunately for us, we are all of those things.
We were hoping the social would be run like a well-oiled machine but what we saw was complete chaos. Young girls wearing T-shirts with the school’s logo on them seemed to be volunteers, so we approached them with our first question — where is your bathroom? Our youngest son is newly potty-trained (as in he’d really only been going on the potty for about a week at that point), and we needed a bathroom STAT. Not one person was able to tell us where we could go to the bathroom! We finally found a teacher about 10 minutes later who told us we could go in her classroom.
On to finding who our son’s teacher is going to be — the exciting moment we’d been waiting with bated breath to find out. They decided to have each teacher stand up and announce her class list. If you were in the back row (like us), you couldn't hear a thing! We barely heard our son’s name (btw, they had him down under his middle name and had spelled our last name wrong!), but we followed the teacher to the classroom.
Each set of parents waited in a line that was out the door on an 85-degree day to talk to her, and she spent about 10 minutes with each family. By the time we got to meet her, my youngest son had had a meltdown (he was done with his measly cup of ice cream and exhausted) and the rest of us were on the verge of tears. It’s not exactly the first impression you want to leave on your son’s first official teacher.
Fast forward to the first day of school. I approached the front door of the school with a group of other “late owl” parents when a woman asked us what we were doing. With an angry look on her face, she explained to us that the school was closed after drop-off, which was when one of the ladies told her this was our drop-off! “Oh, you must be kindergarten parents. Let me walk you to where you need to be.” At this point, I was kind of wondering why we hadn't been given this information last night.
Later that day, I got a call from the office that I needed to bring my son close-toed shoes, as he and another boy in the office were wearing sandals — an apparent “no-no,” although this rule is mysteriously not written in any of the paperwork we’d been given.
By the time I picked my son up from school that day, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But, alas, our first day was under our belts! Oh, and hey — you wanna know what was in his take-home folder that day? Instructions on how to do pick-up and drop-off! To quote Adam Sandler’s character, Robbie, in The Wedding Singer, “Once again... things that could've been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!”
I can only hope things get better, as they sure can’t get worse. Did you have a rough first week, too? Share your story with us!