My eldest son (now six) needed speech therapy when he was younger. We worried about his lack of vocabulary, trouble with pronunciation, and difficulty constructing sentences. The county agreed with us. Like most parents, we fretted about our first child's lack of communication skills. After a year of preschool speech therapy, he had improved immensely (though he rarely talked with his tutor). After last year's kindergarten, he had made great strides and had learned to read. To our great joy he has become a lover of reading. At open house this year, his teacher suggested downloading the first grade sight words and making flashcards out of them. So I did. He knew them all. So I downloaded the 2nd grade sight words. He knew them all. So I downloaded the 3rd grade sight words. He knew them all. He wants me to download the 4th grade sight words, but there aren't any. I had a nightmare last night that he was almost as tall as his momma. I guess he can slow down a little.
Here is some of his folk art from last year. I laugh each time I notice the belt. Now I just worry that there is lead in these toys.
Last week was my new school's open house. Parents come and go through their child's schedule; each class lasts ten minutes. The teachers are supposed to introduce themselves and hit the highlights of their courses. I have now done a lot of these events. They are long and exhausting (coming at the end of a normal school day--I was at school on that day from 6:30am to 9:30pm). I have also perfected a few of my punch lines (it puts the both the parents and me at ease). One relates to my alma mater. I graduated from Georgia Southern University I tell them. And no, it is not true that the transcript includes a place for B.A.C. instead of G.P.A.
I have never felt that I can just say where I graduated from and leave it at that. I have to acknowledge that elephant in the room: GSU has a reputation as a major party school. Students who don't make it into UGA often end up at GSU. I teach at a Christian school and don't want the parents to assume that I am one of "those." So I usually go on to explain that all colleges are party schools and that students will find whatever they are looking for in college. Every college (even the tiniest of Christian colleges hidden away in the mountains) has those who double major in drunkenness and debauchery. College is frequently one of the first extended character tests that young people face. I typically teach juniors and seniors, and these observations seem to both worry and reassure the parents. They are reassured that their child's teacher was not a partier, but they worry that their child will soon become one.
A political note on the Iraq war: At one point the Democratic talking point was simply, "Bush lied; people died." The Republican talking point was simply, "Dems want to cut and run." There was and continues to be no substantive debate concerning the war. The political discourse is currently more of a quagmire than Iraq is. The problem with both of these slogans is that both are merely attacks on the opposition as opposed to plans for a way forward. Both sides claim that attacking one's patriotism is verboten, but I say that any politician that puts political gain before country is acting in an unseemly and unpatriotic manner.