class lists: watching the mailbox

It’s back to school week for some of us. Some of us still have almost a month of summer left. Not to rub it in.

Of course, maybe you think YOU’RE the lucky one if the school bus fairy came to your corner bright and early yesterday morning. Me, I’m not ready yet, so I guess it’s good that New York City kids have what is (in my personal empirical experience) the longest summer vacations of anyone ever.

Still, thoughts at our home are turning to the coming school year, and each day, my boys are watching the mailbox for two very important missives: the lists of who will be in their respective classes at school this year. This is huge news, and way too huge to be posted on some listserv. We have to wait for the old-school tell-tale hawk-crested envelopes to find out, and according to my calculations they should be here any day (where the hell are they, in other words).

I must say I am at least as anxious as they are about these lists’ arrival. I have it on good authority from a teacher friend of mine that class assignments are always done way back in June, as soon as school ends, before all the teachers forget who should be with whom, and who should not under any circumstances. This means that our kids’ school is holding out on us until the last possible minute, presumably to stave off parents saying oh-can’t-you-just-this-once-make-an-exception-and-move-my-child. Of course I would NEVER do such a thing. (**biting lip and avoiding eye contact**)

I wish I could say that the assignments don’t matter. But of course they totally do. The truth is there is one child I would very much like one of my children NOT to be with, and my child shares that fervent hope. If they’re in separate classes, my child figures, there’s only the after-school playground socializing to worry about. If they’re in the same group, they’re together all day, every day. ┬áTo my child, this classroom assignment matters a great deal, and what’s interesting is that who his teacher might or might not be is not even entering his mind.

My brother was telling me his kids are upon similar pins and needles awaiting their own school lists. He asked me how it was we found out which class we were in, way back at St. Paul’s. Neither one of us can remember. I think we kind of showed up the first day and it was Sister Angelique or Sister Mary Thomas, and that was that. I also think it was a different time, when children and parents both did as they were told, and never thought to second-guess –particularly where it was nuns making the decisions.

How do your kids’ schools reveal what their class assignments will be? Are your kids anxious to find out each summer? Have you ever fought to have an assignment changed?