I let a couple of days go because I couldn’t put into words all the emotions I was feeling. I still don’t think I can but I will try.
I knew the day was coming. It was time to say goodbye to 3rd grade and welcome 4th grade into our life. The days leading up to the last day of school were changing. The kids seemed a little quieter. They spoke more about their teachers and what they felt the last day would be like. How it would make them feel?
I’m going to bounce around here a bit. I’m going to take you back to the first day of 3rd grade. The kids were so excited. We all were. It was a big step for the kids. It was the beginning of all new firsts and that meant state testing. We never put strain and any stress on the kids about the test. It was treated as just another day in our home. However, my kids knew what being in the 3rd meant.
The years before when it was time for the older kids to take their state test, the school would have the younger kids cheer and support them the night before. The excitement filled the halls. The happy cheers were met with high fives and lots of laughter. This motivated the test takers and let them know they have a big support system. It was a kind gesture from the school but this also prepared the ones cheering them on for what lied ahead.
I knew it was going to be a great year when I picked up my twins from school on that first day. The smiles on their faces and all the wonderful things they said about their new teachers confirmed my immediate thoughts. Giovanni loved his teacher and enjoyed very much going to school. He loves structure and interaction that being in a classroom setting provides.
Isannah also loved her teachers and felt comfortable knowing she could go to them with anything. They created a bond like no other and that made my heart smile.
The year was going well until the beginning of March hit. The fear of a virus was spreading and the uncertainty of it weighed heavy on all of us. A lot of changes had to be made for the safety of our children and adjustments quickly followed. It was a situation none of us prepared for or believed could happen.
The scare of COVID-19 closed schools and many other things. Kids, teachers and staff had to jump in to virtual teaching and learning. Giovanni and Isannah were scared but they were trying to understand what was going on. Virtual teaching had glitches, programs weren’t downloading, teachers were frozen and classrooms had too quickly shut dow, just to reopen again. A lot of trial and error and right when everyone was adjusted to Zoom platform, something happened to cause the teachers, as well as the children learn a new platform for virtual teaching. Things were getting confusing and my kids were feeling a bit discouraged. I’m sure we weren’t the only one’s feeling this way. It was a difficult situation and everyone was trying hard not to make it as such.
There was a bunch of jumping around throughout the house trying to make sure each child was on the right Zoom/Google meets classroom link. Making sure after they completed their assignments the “turn in” button had been pressed and the work was actually submitted and not just hanging out on the computer screen. That happened a few times.
Through it all, I couldn’t begin to imagine all that was going on behind the scenes that the kids didn’t see. The dedication to our classes and students speaks volumes about the wonderful teachers we had this school year.
As a parent, being so far away from home and struggling to make sure our kids have all they need to get through the school year, has been a challenge but with the teacher’s help it managed to work. Their support not only to our kids but to their families has made all the difference to what could have been a break down for all.
This year was the first for many things. It was a test of even more patience. It was the realization that anything, including school can be taken away in a blink of an eye. Things that we took for granted in our daily routine has become even more appreciated in the adjustments we needed to make each day. Parents became teachers, at least tried too, during the day when gaps were forming.
We did this together. I am so unbelievably proud of the way Giovanni and Isannah handled all that was thorn at them. They had their moments of breakdowns but I know we all did. They felt overwhelmed and scared but talked it through and rose above it. They were teaching me all about Zoom meetings and functions. I listened and watched them navigate through subject classrooms and assignments on the computer with my jaw hitting the ground. They grew up so quickly in the three months this was all happening then they would in a years time.
They grew emotionally, mentally and physically. I think I aged quite a bit myself.
June 26 was the last day of school. It was a day of many emotions. Parents were invited to the morning meeting to join the kids as we all reflected on the school year. Some teachers shared photos from the beginning of the year to the end. Some expressed the best parts of 3rd grade and some about plans for the summer. Teachers said their final goodbyes and tears were forming in my eyes. Quite a few managed to escape and at that moment, it hit me, I now have two 4th graders.
What a ride! What a year!