ALL the Kids are Ready!

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“HI CATELYN!”

There little Gracie sat, with a huge smile on her face waving wildly at Catelyn as she entered her new classroom on back to school night.

“Hi, Gracie….” Catelyn said with little emotion.  Catelyn added a half-hearted wave.

“Let’s go sit with Gracie, Cate” I offered to Catelyn and started to walk towards Gracie and her family.

“No,” Catelyn returned with a scowl on her face and started to walk towards and empty table.

What is going on?  I personally love Gracie.  She is one of Catelyn’s friends, right?  She came to her birthday party, they were on teams together – what?

“Oh,” I thought.  “It’s not Megan.”

Megan, Catelyn’s favorite person she had connected with last year.  Catelyn found Megan on the way into the school and had learned 5 minutes ago that Megan had a different teacher.  Catelyn hadn’t bounced back from this disappointment.

“Hopefully, Rose is in my class,” Catelyn muttered.

“C’mon, Rose.  C’mon, Rose.” I silently cheered.

In walks Rose.

“HI ROSE!” Catelyn shouts!

“YES!” I internally roar.

“Oh…..Hi Catelyn.” Rose answers and walks to Gracie’s table to go sit and chat.

“Hi Gracie!” Rose is heard to say as Catelyn turns in her chair to sink and sulk.

This is not good.

A few minutes later the kids are all called to go to the multipurpose room to get orientated for a new school year.  Catelyn walks to Rose and Gracie, but they are deep in conversation and do not see Cate.  Cate’s smile falls and she looks to me as if to say,

“See.  No one likes me.”

“It is all good,” I say out loud, “Go have fun.”

Catelyn visibly sinks and walks out of the room with the other kids.

I sit in the room with her new teacher to learn about her new year ahead.

The teacher talks about his history, his experience, himself.  He leads into the school year ahead.  He eventually points to the wall to his left, with the rules of the classroom and as I read, I already get stuck.

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Oh no.

The teacher continues to talk about academics and I am not even listening.  I’m still reading the list of rules and thinking of Cate.

The rules are so basic.

But some do not come easily to Cate.

I sit and silently wish for Cate to be respectful this year.  I try to figure out new ways to get her to say please and thank you.  I doubt they will get her to try anything new, but maybe.

I wondered as I sat there if Cate’s reputation as a difficult student has preceded her.  Watching her struggle socially.  Knowing that she will battle not only learning, but will have difficulty with the most basic of rules.  And will spend a lot of time over reacting in the classroom, being rude to the teacher and in tears, as she has in all previous years.

With Catelyn’s permission, I sent an email to her teacher and briefly described Catelyn, her diagnosis, her struggles and her strengths.  I offered some history and some useful coping skills.  And was so happy to receive the following reply:

“Thank you very much for your email. I am glad you shared this important information with me about Catelyn. I think I will now have a better understanding on how to handle things and work with Catelyn to make sure she has a wonderful experience learning this year. Could you please let me know if there is anything else that I can do here at school to ensure her needs are being met? Please tell Catelyn that I am pretty excited about being her teacher this year and will be focusing on having a lot of fun while learning.”

When I told Cate what the teacher said, the frown about school finally turned – and a small smile appeared.  She was finally ready!

Today, the kids go back to school.  Bobby and Catelyn are gone and in just a couple of hours Declan will be on his way to afternoon Kindergarten.  After receiving the reply from Catelyn’s teacher, I am happy to say all the kids are smiling about school and ready for the year ahead!

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22 thoughts on “ALL the Kids are Ready!

    1. I agree – I was worried for Cate. She is high functioning but she still faces challenges. Glad the teacher was so nice in his reply and offered to be a help to her!

  1. Is there a reason most schools today resemble prisons? Made this realization after living in Colorado where a new school was built. It actually resembled a high security lock-up for the evilest prisoners! Prison for children’s’ minds is what I drove away thinking. Imagination tends to be squashed out at a young age.

    1. I agree – Cate is high functioning and doesn’t meet the need for help, although she does face many challenges. It was nice her teacher was so open to be a support!

  2. Oh Robin, it’s your Happy Dance day! I’m dancing with you my friend!!💃 That is so great about Cate’s teacher!! With him having all the info about Cate’s needs, they both have a better chance of starting off on good footing. I hope SpiderDeclan has a great first day and doesn’t come home too overwhelmed. You get a few hours to yourself!!!! High Fives & Happy Dancing & big hugs❣💌💞💖🍻✨🎉🎊🚌🏫📝📒📚

  3. That’s a fantastic reply to get from the teacher. My daughter just started preschool in the public school system and it’s kind of like a fresh start from the daycare where she has already been “othered.” This post gives me some hope.

    1. I am so glad the post gave you hope – that is great! I know the feeling of my child being “othered.” I spoke up for Cate this time and was just so happy to hear what the teacher had to say. Gave me a lot of hope, too!

  4. Aww, that is such a sweet letter. I bet you shed tears of joy. We are due to begin next week. I hope your children especially Dec and Cate do have a great time. The main hurdle is over- their teachers are on board! Thank you for sharing. Well done, Robyn. You are doing great! 👍🏽👍🏽

    1. It was such a relief! Cate has been sent to the principal’s office a few times – so I wondered if her new teacher knew and what he thought of Cate. So I wanted to explain her a little bit – his message back was the BEST! Thank you so much!

  5. Half day kindergarten? How old fashioned, Reading your story reminds me that this is the first year I haven’t felt inclined to send off a preparatory email for one of my own. Growth happens.

    1. Oh, Jeff – the half day kindergarten is a post in itself! When my oldest started Kindergarten I was still working full time. The school doesn’t offer mid-day bus service either. Neither did his day care. So, in theory, I was going to have to leave work (20+ minutes away) to get him from Daycare and take him to school. And then back to Daycare 3 hours later when school was over.
      But no one had ever seemed to make a ruckus about it, so I had to adapt. Oh, that is great – I am glad for growth!

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