365 Things to Look Forward to — Number 36: School Opening

36. School opening

I can name more than a good handful of people who are more than glad to get out of school. And twice as many who wish they never had to go to school. And only a small handful of people who can’t wait till school starts again. And still less who would love to study all their lives.

Can you guess which group I belong to?

Definitely the last two groups. Yes, I love school.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait for my first day in school. Not nursery, because I had a moody teacher who wouldn’t let me talk to my seatmate and made us bring our chairs up front and sit down facing the wall for a good amount of time. What else do I remember about nursery? Naps. We have colored mats that we napped on. And the uniforms. We had little tent-like dresses which remind me now of Fred Flinststones’ outfits sans the spots. Except that these came in pastel colors, one for each day of the week, or maybe just 3 different colors that we alternated. I don’t think I learned very much in nursery except that teachers can be really nasty.

It was going to a “real” school–Kindergarten–that I was completely excited about. I was going to take a new school bus and go to a new school. We had moved closer to the new school, so the old school was no longer an option. I had a real uniform–not different colored play dresses, but a navy blue pleated jump skirt and a white button-up blouse. I didn’t like the ruffles. I always hated the ruffles. All the way till I graduated from senior high, I hated those ruffles.

Anyway, off I went on the first day. I had instructions to “follow all the little children with a K on their badge”. We had little round badges about the size of a quarter that had our level on it. K was for Kindergarten. I was proud of my little K.

It wasn’t hard to find out where the Kindergarten classes were. There were sandboxes and a playhouse and swings and other toys outside. And there were dozens of little girls and boys just my size. My problem was finding my room. I went into the first room I found and sat there until the teacher figured out I didn’t belong to that class, so she walked me to all the classrooms, looking for my name on the lists on the doors, until she found my classroom. It was a nice, cozy room with chairs just the right size and a very friendly teacher, Miss Astrid Perez. But I easily got bored. I knew the alphabet and my numbers. I could count. I could read. And I read through all the books in the room long before the class even got to them. So I started sneaking out to play while the class was going on. I never knew it, but the Principal, Sr. Gratia, had called my mother to let her know that I was skipping class. So young! So they gave me tests, and Sr. Gratia gave the verdict: I was to be accelerated to 1st grade. I don’t really remember, but I think a group of us were chosen for this privilege, but we had to take our Prep (with a P badge) in summer. That was fine with me, because I loved school, and somehow felt more at home there than at home.

And so it went. Every year, I have looked forward to going back to school after summer. Now, I still look forward to going back to school after summer…but this time, to teach. I would love to be able to keep on studying just for the pleasure of learning new things, but I have to do that on my own now, because I need to work to pay my bills.

There is everything to be excited about with school opening. Meeting new classmates, meeting new teachers, meeting old classmates and friends, checking out new books in the library, getting new textbooks, getting new school supplies and school shoes, and most of all, learning a whole lot of new things!

I just don’t think people appreciate school enough. But that’s another topic.

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