After a long while of feeling no need to write in this forum, I began mentally composing a new post this week as the first of my two sons, Eleven, started Italian middle school.
This is our first experience with public school since we used a private school for elementary so my kids could continue on with their closest friends from preschool. Private school is a little paradise for parents, relatively affordable with lots of coddling, endless reassurance and special favors available upon request. Everyone is very nice to the children too.
So far public school has me a little bewildered. First the book ordering. Some of the mothers mentioned we had to order the kids’ books over the summer. Fine. How do we know which books to order? It turns out the school doesn’t tell you but the bookstores somehow know, and provide lists online. I decided to get a headstart and ordered all of Eleven’s books online in June, although the website said that some of them wouldn’t be available until later, but that I could “reserve” copies. When I got back from the States, a few still had not been delivered and the publishing date on a couple was September 23rd, 10 days after school started. This didn’t seem strange to any one but me.
The original store where I had ordered them emailed me last week to say they would not be able to deliver the last of his books and would cancel the remainder of our order, so I bought those books on Amazon. This week the original store emailed me a notice that they were sending me the same books. And of course that was the day I received them from Amazon. So I guess next year I will wait and order everything directly on Amazon. Live and learn.
Every day Eleven comes home with a list of materials he needs. Fortunately, he is smart and attentive and can explain to me what the difference is between a quadernone ad anelli and a quadernone like the kind he needed in elementary school. On Monday we went to the store together and I nearly had a minor breakdown. Yesterday was a little better, and today I just gave him some money and sent him on his own.
The actual school day is short this week. He only went three hours on Monday and gets out an hour early until next week when the regular schedule sets in, or probably. You never know here. There is no gym class this week because of the mosquito infestation in the brand new gym they finished building two years ago.
He had a substitute yesterday for the class they call “Technology” because the teacher “wasn’t there”. They had a substitute for French today for the same reason. The kids asked where these teachers were (“Still on vacation?”) but the substitutes would not say.
There is a teachers’ strike tomorrow. I read about it in the paper and but had no idea how it worked. The teachers never went on any strikes at the private school. I asked around and it was explained to me that you don’t know until the last minute whether there will be school or not. The kids go to school and if the first period teacher is there, they stay for the day, regardless of whether their other teachers are there; if the first period teacher is strikingthey return home. But there is no knowing much in advance.
Luckily, he is smart and eager and hopefully will learn something in all this confusion. So far he has great things to say about his Italian teacher. His Math teacher is OK and the English teacher, in his words, is “Italian. She said, ‘How slowly this computer!’ at the beginning of class, hahahah! So I don’t think she knows English very well. And I tried telling her how to pronounce my name. I told her twice but she didn’t get it, so I just gave up.”