September 20, 2016

Top 8 things I hate about 'back to class’: elementary school edition

Alright, so we’re a few weeks back into the school year here, and I’ve caught my breath long enough to think about all the things I hate about sending the kids back to school


1. People who act like the "fresh start" of the school year... is any different than summer.

As far as I can tell, the summer is exactly like the school year. It's the same lunch-making-what-the-fuck-do-we-feed-you-tomorrow bullshit, the same mad morning rush to get the kids ready for their next day camp, the same routine of kids waking up earlier than necessary, the same walking the dog in the dark of the early morning before work, the same kid pick-up schedules at the end of day… the only difference was forking over thousands of dollars in summer camp fees.

to boot, around here at least, the weather was 85 per cent spring-like, too, so not only did the daily schedule look the same, the daily weather felt the same as the school year.

2. Feigning enthusiasm for the start of the school year.

This is just me, and it’s a good starting point for understanding the colour of the rest of this blog entry. I didn’t love going back to school as a kid at the end of the summer. I generally hated school from day one until grade 12 graduation. From having to “learn stuff” to being bullied, to having some terrible, terrible teachers along the way, I really didn’t dig on school. I get that I needed education, so I persevered, but… oh, those back to school blues… *smile for the kids, Stu, tell them how awesome it will be!* Genuinely, I don't feel excitiement for the start of the school year. I feel anxiety. 

3. Gradual Entry

“Back in my day”, we used to rock up to the school a week before it started, read the list of who’s class we were going to be in, and who our classmates were going to be, and THAT. WAS. IT. Day one, aaaaand go.

Nowadays, we have to get the goddamn Harry Potter sorting hat out, and it takes at least a week before kids are actually settled into their classroom routines. I get that the social-emotional learning environment means teachers and staff actually take the time to consider the balance of personalities and independent learning needs, and that is AWESOME. I retain the right to be grumpy about the process.

I admit, this year, I didn’t do any of the gradual entry days. It was my wife’s turn this year. I did it last year. God willing, next year neither of us will have to partake in this madness and the kids will essentially get straight to full days of class.


4. The "first day of grade XYZ” pictures at the front door.

You know what? You parents that had your shit together enough to even DO this? I love you all and respect you, but… just, f*ck you. That is all.


5. A professional development day within the first 2-4 weeks of school. 

Love and respect teachers for all they do, and the extra hours they work, blah blah blah. A DAY WITHOUT KIDS, WHEN SCHOOL JUST STARTED?! Are you KIDDING ME? Did you read #3?! For all the parents that manipulated their working schedules to deal with the first two weeks of school, and now have to do it again, this pro-D day is Just MEAN!

6. The “Art” 

Oh god, the artwork. Parents, I know you feel me on this. Piles and piles of it, at the end of each day, on the countertops. Schoolbags get dragged in the door, and all of a sudden, it’s a spontaneous vomiting of scribbly crumpled papers, all over the place. There are the gems within there, of course, and those are worth weeding out for the memory books, as well as other valuable items such as field trip forms, class photo day notices, teachers’ letters, etc… which leads me to…

7. Paperwork

Holy mother of permission slips, batman. WHY SO MANY THINGS TO SIGN? The worst has to be our after-school care arrangement for our kids. Some elements were required not just in duplicate, or triplicate, but the exact same information had to be printed out EIGHT FUCKING TIMES. What? What? I can’t even. Here, take our money and all these dead trees you made us fill out. The irony is, we do the paperwork for the safety of the children and the total indemnification of the program from any legal harm (Jimmy broke his arm falling off the monkey bars? Yo fault. Emma got into a pencil crayon shiv fight with Sofia? Not our problem!), and THEN, the program feeds our kids chocolate frosted sugar bombs for their afternoon snacks… Jimmy’s arm is broken AND he developed diabetes? Still not our fault! Wait, is this still about paperwork? Whatever.

8. Two weeks of spring break

OK, this is actually super awesome for the kids. I’m just 100 per cent bitter that I didn’t get this when I was in school.


So that’s enough piss and vinegar for one posting. Just had to get all that off my chest! At the heart of it, obviously, nothing is more important to me than seeing my kids get a great education, and we will jump through whatever hoops we have to, to make sure our kids earn their smarts, forge some great friendships and hopefully don’t get beat up along the way.

If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen cutting sandwiches into little flower shapes and carving smiley faces into fruit slices. NOT.