Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is Switching Schools A Good Thing? A Fourth Grade Story.

Today was a first, something happened I never would've anticipated just a few short years ago. My daughter started at a new school, leaving behind a school we had become very comfortable with the last three years. Sj bounced around to different preschools every year through Kindergarten and when we received a first grade spot in our former school, I always imagined she would stay there through fifth grade. That was it for me, finally we had our spot, and we were happy there!

Now I have to confess, switching schools makes me uncomfortable, it makes me worrisome. I'm a product of never having to switch schools, my parents still live in the house I grew up in. Maybe I credit my success in life to consistency. I truly don't think there's a right way, but one could easily misconstrue being consistent with also being stagnant, which I am really not a fan of. Anyway, I threw all my hesitations into the wind and decided to place the girls into a new school this year. While the decision was fairly easy, ultimately Josh and I took a very thorough look into all the pros and cons of switching or staying put. All four of us sat around the dinner table and had a very open and candid conversation about making a school change, and like that we had consensus, four thumbs up for the school switch!

As we've come to learn, talking about something like switching schools is much easier than actually switching schools. Leaving behind a community of great friends, a building that we knew like the back of our hand, a playground where the girls have spent countless hours, faces of the teachers we once hoped we'd be fortunate enough to educate our girls. All a distant memory. Fast forward to today, the first day of fourth grade for Sj at her new school. She couldn't sleep last night, the anticipation was rising, she was full of energy, and so excited for the big day! As we waited to get into the building we watched kids hug and catch up with friends they hadn't seen all summer. I spent time focusing on Sj, telling her how wonderfully she was going to do, knowing she was feeling the divide and lack of connection. During the course of our wait her enthusiasm was shrinking, at some point she was letting negative thoughts in, and it almost looked as if she was on the verge of tears.

When I walked out of her classroom, the look of devastation on her face was all I could focus on. Regret began to creep in. By the time I hit the front door, I felt as if I had ruined my daughter's life. I questioned why I thought it would be good for her. The school day dragged beyond belief. When we finally reunited that afternoon, I patiently waited to see her face in the crowd coming down the hall. Sj's face reads to me beyond what any of her words will tell. A simple look on her face would be the indicator if the decision was a good one or not.

Sj was all smiles, rambling at 1,000 words per minute about her fabulous day. I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her. All is good in the world, all is good. Finally at the end of my day, I was able to exhale the biggest and happiest sigh of relief.

The world has once again confirmed, change is good.

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More shall come about our new school and ultimately why we decided to move on, stay tuned! It's a good story! 

5 comments:

  1. Change IS good. Sometimes it's hard to remember that our current normal was once the product of a change. I hope things continue to go smoothly for Sj and you!!

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  2. Oh that's AWESOME. So glad you are all happy with the switch. I'm like you - no switching, parents still in the house I grew up in! :)

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  3. I'm so glad it worked out! Change IS good. It makes you stronger and helps you grow.

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  4. Whew, that is rough but so glad she had a good day!!!!

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  5. Poignant. Captures parent anxiety - and a child's resilience - perfectly!

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!