35 Years Later

Unable to wait for the reports at the dinner table, I went up to Prince Street School with Catherine to pick up Oliver at the end of his first day at public school.

He survived. Thrived even. Ate his lunch. Loved story time and music. He has a very nice teacher, a very bright classroom, and a class size of 14, which about as good as it gets.

Learned a new word today: bussers. Used to describe the kids who take the bus to school rather than walking (there are a good number of kids bussed in from suburban Charlottetown to Prince Street). Used in a sentence: “The walkers have to wait for the bussers to leave before they’re allowed to go.”

Thirty-five years ago I entered grade one at Rolling Meadows Public School in Burlington (I wrote here earlier about how I emerged).

Twenty-two years ago I entered teacher training myself — an aborted effort, as it turns out — and did a round of practice teaching in a kindergarten classroom.

In both cases, the “transition to grade one” was, as I recall, a transition from the halcyon days of youth (kindergarten) into a more traditional all-desks-in-rows setup where “buckling down” was the operating metaphor.

I’m happy to report that this no longer seems to be the case: the desks are grouped in anarchic Hall-Dennis-style pods, the classroom is startlingly un-prison-like, and Oliver’s teacher seems more like Meg Ryan than Miss Havisham.

Of course this is just the first day; I’ve still an opportunity for all my conspiracy theories about formal education to come true ;-)

Back tomorrow for more.


Mark Wubben's picture
Mark Wubben on September 6, 2007 - 20:31 Permalink

Glad you survived the first day at school, Peter.

Simon Lloyd's picture
Simon Lloyd on September 6, 2007 - 21:11 Permalink

Hi Peter:

Nice to see you and meet Catherine (if ever so briefly) today. It’s good to hear that Oliver’s first day went so well. Our oldest just started kindergarden, but will (gulp) be making the big transition next year, so your willingness to share your experiences is appreciated by those of us already bracing for The First Day. I’m sure our daughter will be fine, but considering that I’m getting misty reading about the Off to School experiences of people I hardly know, I will obviously need some prep time so as to not blub shamelessly when our time comes … Best wishes to Oliver for the school year.