My son attends a wonderful magnet school that has a program called "Three for Me." It is a pledge from parents to give three hours of time to the school each school year and it is mandatory for enrollment. It encourages parents to chaperon field trips, attend PTO meetings, and to volunteer in the classroom. I love this idea and have quickly started to rack up the hours. I have already chaperoned two field trips and have become a member of the PTO. Earlier this week, it was time for me to put on my "room mom hat" and head to Kindergarten.
The aid that was working in Jonathan's class has been reassigned to the after school program, so I thought his teacher could use a little extra help until a replacement has been found. Now, since I have a background in education, I thought I was a pretty good candidate to help out in the classroom. When I showed up for duty, however, I was assigned "busy work."
At first I thought, "but I can do so much more than sort papers." Then I realized that is exactly what Jonathan's teacher needed help with. She doesn't have time to sort papers into each child's folder to be taken home at the end of the day with all the Campbell's soup label reminders and picture retake information. She also doesn't have time to stand on a chair (which those of you who know me well, know that is not my favorite thing to do) and hang cute little pumpkin art projects...she is busy teaching.
It was also in the those moments buried in paperwork that I was able to witness that teaching. It was amazing to see the way his teacher was able to easily transition the students from one activity to another, praise those who were doing well, encourage those who needed it, and to watch all the students engage. I remember smiling while the teacher read a story about bats and how the kids "oohed" and "aahed" at the information being shared. My little scientist was particularly interested and didn't blink during circle time.
It was also an incredible feeling to see my son's face light up at the sight of me and to know that he truly liked it that I was there sharing part of his day with him. In fact, he liked it a little too much and became a little emotional when it was time for me to leave. Of course, that made me emotional as well, so I decided to stick around a few more minutes and join him for lunch. That's when I realized that this whole starting school and spending all day away from me was a big adjustment for him. He hides things so well, but is really quite sensitive--kind of like his mom. I was so glad that I took the time to do this! I think it was more rewarding for me than it was help to Jonathan's teacher, the school, or the other children in the class. And I know that me and my son shared a connection because of it. He knows that I think education is important because I took the time to show that it was important. He also knows I think the world of him!