My family graduated from elementary school last year.
Well, in truth, my younger daughter is the one who
transitioned, but it marked a transformation for the
entire family. Being part of a community elementary
school isn't only about what your school aged student
learns. It's also part of what the family gathers being
a part of the community. I spent 9 years at our local
K-5 school volunteering, learning, networking, evolving.
While my children learned the tasks set for them,
I volunteered for the Parent Led Art program, the Book
Fair, as a classroom aid, as a classroom coordinator,
and as an all around dogsbody. I learned about teaching,
about classroom observation, classroom control, and
public speaking. I learned how to organize supplies,
funding, resources, volunteers, to delegate tasks, to herd
cats, when to hold fast, and when to let go. I learned to
say "No" to what I gathered no joy from, and to say "Yes"
when it mattered to me. I can unjam a copier, cold call a
class to notify them of a death, organize a 600 person art
project, and can talk my way into a meeting. I know that
reputation is everything, and that the first thing to do in a
school is to make alliances with the secretaries, and that
being kind to staff, from lunch ladies to janitors, to
teachers your children don't have, pays dividends when you
need help. Being there, year after year, I watched children
grow, evolve, and stay the same. The change and lack of
change is fascinating.
And now, it's time for something new. Yes, the elementary
school would keep me, and I'd be happy to return for the
occasional project, but my children are continuing to grow
and learn new things, shouldn't I follow along?