Tonight was "Meet the Teacher Night" at my daughter's school, but it certainly wasn't the first time she had met her teacher. Of the 24 students in her 4th/5th combined class, she is the only one who has known the teacher since the moment of her birth. Her teacher is me. Her mother.
When I found out in June of 2009 that Kinley had been accepted into the 2nd/3rd Gifted and Talented class, I was a little stunned. She hadn't been accepted at the end of 1st grade, and then, at the end of 2nd grade, she was scheduled to be in a regular 3rd grade class. When the call came informing me that she had been moved into the GT class, I didn't know how to react. I had already made my peace with her placement and had decided that God knew best. And now, I was not only going to have to face the changes of having a child in an accelerated class, but I was going to have to prepare to be her teacher for the two years following 3rd grade since there is only one 4/5 GT class at our school. And I teach it.
I quickly started thinking of options. A) We could decline. Her 2nd grade year had been great, and I was confident in the skills of the teachers in the regular classrooms at Mayflower. B) We could accept but move her to the GT class at another elementary in our school corporation. C) I could move to teach another GT class at another school in our corporation. D) We could *gulp* accept, and I could be her teacher for 4th and 5th grades.
After much reassurance by my principal, we went with option D. I immediately began asking for prayers from my friends, usually accompanied with an eye-roll and lots of sarcasm. I should have been more sincere.
It wasn't until this summer that I began to pray in earnest for God to guide me through this process. I know that my dear mother-in-law has been praying for the situation, too, and the results of those prayers have been evident over the last two weeks.
While tonight was the official parent meeting at school, classes actually began last Tuesday. That was the day that Kinley requested that we take her traditional "first day of school" picture together this year. I choked back tears as she skipped ahead of me to pose in front of our house with her bookbag. I was so touched that she would think of marking our first day as teacher/student this way. As we perfected our pose she whispered, "I am so excited about today, but I'm going to try to act just like every other student." The tears now refused to be stifled. Day 1, and I'm already crying.
The first day went really well. Kinley chose a seat across the room from my desk. (Actually, she first chose the desk closest to me until I explained that those seats were usually reserved for students who needed my attention most.) She excitedly shared about her day with her daddy when we got home, and I retold him the highlights from my perspective after she went to bed.
Day 2 started with student presentations. Each child was to bring in three items --small enough to fit in a lunch sack -- that represent themselves. Josh had helped Kinley choose her items since I felt strongly that she shouldn't get extra help from her teacher on assignments. So during her presentation, when she pulled out her items, I was curious to hear her explain how they related to her personality. When, at the end of her presentation, her classmates began to ask her questions about her world travels, I was so filled with pride to hear her intelligent, well-thought-out answers that I started to CRY! This was certainly an unexpected consequence! This year was going to be full of surprises.
So tonight when I made my traditional parent-night speech, I shouldn't have been surprised when my daughter was one of the first to raise her hand with a question. And afterwards, when her daddy critiqued my spiel (granted, I asked for his opinion), it should have seemed normal. But it doesn't. Not yet anyway.