My youngest began kindergarten a few weeks ago, and things have been going well. She loves it, she’s happy to be in school with her brothers, and she loves having lunch in a cafeteria and riding the bus (simple pleasures!). She’s learning how to be a big-school-kid. She has a backpack she’s responsible for, and she’s in charge of getting her clothes together the night before.
So. I get a call from school. It’s the kindergarten teachers (one for general studies and one for Jewish/Hebrew). They are concerned because twice in the last few weeks my daughter has had a melt down in class. Why, you ask? And I quote:
“Shayna was upset because you forgot to have her wear socks on gym day. She needs socks, and the gym teachers insist on it. She has to sit out if she is not wearing socks. She was so upset. Please make sure she is wearing her socks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”
[ I forgot to have her wear socks. Are you freaking kidding me? Every night before bed I say, “Shayna, please put out your clothes for tomorrow, and if you have gym remember socks.” She either does or doesn’t. The first 2 times she forgot her socks, I ran them up to school because let’s face it: we all forget things sometimes. After the second time I reminded her that she needs the socks for gym and she needs to be responsible for them. I would not be available to run her socks to school again. Both subsequent times she has forgotten the socks, the school called me and in my nicest I’m-a-helpful-Mommy voice I said, “I’m so sorry, I’m not able to run socks to school. She’ll have to do without.” This provoked the classroom meltdowns.]
I took a deep breath and explained to the teachers that we believe part of kindergarten is learning to be responsible for yourself. This begins at home. She is capable of putting her clothes out (all of them) the night before, so we expect it. She will have to experience the consequences of not doing that, even if that means sitting out at gym. School picks up where home leaves off. I told the teachers that we don’t expect them to pack her bag at the end of the day, and if she forgets her raincoat at school on a Friday, it’s going to be a wet weekend for her. These are important lessons on the road to being a responsible student.
This did not go over well. The teachers do not want to have to deal with hassles from home, and I get that. However, school is where they learn to be good students. This is part of that. I told both teachers that I understood the difficult position they are in, but presumably the ultimate goal on both ends is to create a competent and responsible child. I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader, and all of their teachers will tell you that they rarely forget their homework or kippot, and they take responsibility for their actions and behavior. It doesn’t just magically happen one day, you have to build a foundation over time.
And it starts with socks.