My son’s elementary school has a tradition that I really won’t miss next year as he enters middle school. Each year they set aside one day in the summer where they post class lists. “The list” says who their teacher is and who is in their class. Children and parents rush to the school, run down the steps to the gym and crowd around the back wall elbowing their way through so they can see “the list.”
Parents, including me, take pictures of “the list” so they can remember who is in their child’s class and talk to all of the other parents about it later. Many of the kids don’t even ask who their teacher is; they just want to know who is and isn’t in class with them. The kids even check to see where other kids ended up.
“The list” was posted on Monday at 6 p.m. There were easily 150 people in the gym by 6:03. Later that evening, I headed to the dog park. A fifth grade girl was at the park. I mentioned that I noticed she was going to be in class with Joey this year. She nodded in agreement and then said “but I was so sad that C (we aren’t going to use her full name) and Joey aren’t going to be together.” It took me a minute to figure out what she was saying. And then it hit me… last year’s drama. Joey and C apparently were boyfriend and girlfriend but they eventually broke up. C continued to have a crush on him. Joey definitely liked her as a friend but wasn’t sure about that girlfriend stuff. He hadn’t seen C since the last day of school. And here a classmate, not even C, sees me after seeing “the list” and her concern is that C and Joey aren’t in class together. Huh? Am I that out of touch that I just don’t get why this was the concern?
So back to “the list”… Within an hour of it being posted, I received several texts, emails and Facebook messages telling me that our kids are or are not in class together. I’ve received messages saying “can you believe X in class with my son. This is going to be a horrible year.” And “How did J and G end up together again? Everyone knows they are drama together.” And “thank goodness B and K are together.” By the way, I am completely making these letters up, and exaggerating the comments. .. a little. I’m also guilty of messaging people.
I have to tell you when my daughter was at this school, “the list” day was very important to me. In fact, I would stress for a few days prior to it being posted. I didn’t want her to be in class with the “mean girls” (you know the ones… they are the girls who call themselves popular but really they are just mean and everyone is afraid of them). She is also very sensitive so I would hope and pray for the teacher of my choice. I know Andi would worry as well. She has always had a good group of friends but mean girls are mean!
It’s different now though. I don’t give much thought to Joey’s “list” going up. Yes, I’d like him to have a friend or two in his class but I don’t worry about who else is in or not in the class. Although I have a preference, I don’t worry about who his teacher is going to be. He is attending one of the best schools in the state so it seems like it would be hard to get a bad teacher. He is definitely curious about who is in his class and will miss a few who aren’t but he is much more relaxed about it than his sister ever was.
It also hit him last night, as he met the new principal, that he is a FIFTH GRADER, the top of the school, the ones who set the example, the ones who… wait for it… GET TO PUT THE FLAG UP OUTSIDE EACH MORNING! This is going to be an exciting year no matter what “the list” says.