When I started cleaning out our closets for our pending move, I began a trip down memory lane. We spent twenty years in one school district! For 13 of those years, I had one of our sons in elementary school due to their spacing. Elementary school was without a doubt my favorite time of schooling for my boys. The quality of their education and the excellent teachers they experienced were, in my opinion, extraordinary. Part of the reason I feel this way is because of the high level of involvement I was allowed to have at this school. I was fortunate to be welcomed into classrooms, hold enrichment groups, and even sub for several teachers over the years. But, this post isn’t about me, it’s about memories of my boys from kindergarten through fifth grade.
One thing that struck me was the amount of writing that was done in third and fifth grade! Wowza! So many pieces were produced. Their work included daily journals with their third-grade teachers, narrative stories, expository writing, research projects, history projects, and one of my favorites – producing creative work for Young Authors Day in the spring. So much work on the part of the students, teachers, and librarians went into these projects! I am grateful to them for taking it on!
Another fond memory is from Kindergarten. Each week I volunteered for centers in each of my boy’s kindergarten classrooms. I enjoyed this time immensely and for a time considered becoming a kindergarten teacher! (I know I would have been dissatisfied eventually with this grade level because of my love for information and stretching the curiosity and intellect of our youth.) Third through fifth grade would have been a better spot for me if I had obtained a teaching license. Each of my boys has a kindergarten scrapbook that was saved for them. It will go into their respective totes. It’s fun to look back at it.
The art projects are also phenomenal. All three produced wonderful pieces that have been kept through the years. The Original Artworks fundraisers were a staple for my younger two boys. I preserved as many pieces as I could – in the form of magnets, coffee cups, quilt blocks, and prints – without going broke. Part of the proceeds of this fundraiser stays with the school, so it’s a win-win.
Many of their assessments were pitched in my clean out, even if I had felt a need to save them at the time, I don’t see that they would want them now. This includes timed math facts, ADD sheets, benchmark reading tests, and other standardized test results done yearly. Of course, I saved just a few to allow my young men to make their own decisions on whether to save them going forward. As full-grown, successful young men, there is no need for them now. And, to be honest, I’m not sure there was a need for them then. The best teachers knew their students well and individualized the curriculum to meet their needs. My boys had so many of those people. And, I am so very thankful they did.
Out of all the time we spent in the boy’s elementary school, there are very few sad, hurtful, or bothersome memories. As their mom, I can say that I really didn’t care for only one of their teachers – one that had two of my boys in different grades (the teacher switched grade levels within the building). She was cold and unfeeling and I believe produced anxiety for my boys, as well as not really knowing who they were as students. But, even though I knew this as my oldest son had her, I let my youngest be in her classroom. In hindsight, I should have made a request to avoid her again. But, I didn’t. In life, we are all exposed to those who “don’t get us.” We survive and even grow from the experience. Thankfully, my youngest had a way out – he saw the TAG teacher with many of his friends, and this, I believe, was what he needed. Seeing the enrichment teacher, provided most of the opportunities for his growth that year. It began a time of truly being supported by this amazing educator that lasted well beyond my son’s time in elementary school.
The memories are overflowing. Some have stayed to be put in a new tote to be given to each of our sons. Most will remain in my head for many years to come, thanks to the teachers of Evergreen Elementary School.
Our boys are 20, 22, and 27 respectively, so elementary school is long gone. But, as my oldest replied to me today when I asked if I should save his battery-powered disco turkey (seen above), the memories are good enough. And, so they are. Many things were thrown out today, but enough was saved – to jog a memory, to make a smile, to say “I loved that” or “I didn’t like doing that!” It was a trip down memory lane as a parent. I’m so glad I took it – I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!