Caden’s First Day of School

We survived!  Well, we survived our first “first day of school.”  Jacob’s first day of school is today, but he has Caden’s preschool teacher from last year (who I love) so I feel like I’m leaving him with a friend.  (Not that there won’t be pictures because there will, but I’m just less emotional about it.  Middle child.)

Caden’s day went really well.  He wasn’t nervous at all.  He just kept saying that he was really excited.  I got a little teary when his teacher took his line into his class, but I quickly recovered.  Here’s some pictures from his first day.


Big Man with a backpack on and lunch inside. He said lunch was his favorite part of the day. Such a scholarly boy I have!


Brothers join him on the porch… I swear, someday Jacob will remember how to smile.


Walking up to school with Daddy.


Waiting on the playground with Mommy.


Time to line up! I’m nervous!!! He’s not.

I am having some small issues with his school though, and I need some outside perspective from people that are not related to Caden or I.

When we went to Jacob’s preschool orientation afterwards, Jacob’s preschool teacher was asking where Caden was going to school and when I told her, she said the ESL population there is one of the highest in the district.  I immediately thought of the school that I used to teach at, that also had a high ESL population.  The kids were great, but it felt like I spent a lot of time teaching English and giving kids that already knew how to speak English independent work.  My thoughts were confirmed when Caden came home with a daily schedule of what would be taught in class and there was a half an hour of ELD instruction and next it it it said, “EO’s (which is English Only’s) Independent Work.”  Imagining Caden doing a half an hour of independent classwork was kind of an impossibility in my mind.

So, I thought, “No biggie. Riverside is an open district.  As long as there is a spot, I can transfer him to another school.”  Wrong-o.  Transfers are closed… unless you get the principal to pull for you.

So I called the principal (yes, I’m that parent) and she said the chances of a transfer and very, very slim.  She understood my concern but said that Caden would grouped with other kids who speak English and those at the higher end of the spectrum during English Language Development time.   She also said that towards the end of the week she would know the numbers in the classrooms better and may be able to move him to a teacher that has been teaching kinder for 20-something years and “tends to bring children up to a higher standard.”  That sounded nice.

So, what do I do?  I know, it’s just kindergarten.  It’s not life or death.  But kindergarten is a very formative year.  Not only are they building a foundation for the rest of their school years, but as I was told when I first started teaching, kindergarten teachers shape children’s spirits for the rest of their school career.

I just want this to be a great year for Caden.  Should I push for the transfer?  Should I keep him where he is and push to move to the other teacher?  Should I just leave it all alone?

Being a parent is full of too many tough decisions.

I tap out.  Tap in, would ya?

8 responses

  1. Why don’t you give it some time and see how Caden does with it? He may surprise you by succeeding despite this obstacle. If it does seem to be hindering for his personal success, then talk to the principal and see what you can work out. The independent work might even prove to be beneficial, encouraging him not to depend on his teacher so much. But I’m just one mom, you know your kid best! You do whatever you feel is right for your child and your family, no matter what the rest of the school says or feels!

    • I think I was letting my freak out feelings about letting my “baby” go off to school leak over into this dilemma. He had a GREAT day, and i think I need to chill out a little. 🙂 I’m going to stay involved and keep an eye on things just to be sure, but you’re right, I’m sure he’ll be just fine where he’s at. And if need be, I’ll march down to the district office and raise hell! Haha!

  2. I am approaching Aubrey’s public education with a lot of grace. Everyone has an opinion and a face to make when you say which teacher’s class you are in. Even here in our high performing, English only district we have parents running for cover, frantically trying to get in a charter, pulling kids to homeschool, and being busy bodies. I am really trying to stay our of it all, trust that God’s hand is in the small things too, and watch my child thrive. Despite my intervention at the end of last year to get my daughter separated from a future wife batterer, she still ended up in his class. Something happened over the Summer and cards got moved around… And you know what, she has decided to distance herself from him all on her own. It turns out she doesn’t want to be verbally abused while at school. Go figure.

    So… the best advise I can give you is to be involved. Volunteer. Be present and listen. If your Mommy gut tells you that this isn’t the right fit, then do something about it. Caden might really enjoy the helper role he may be placed in with a classmate at his table. It might empower him. Or it might drive him nuts. 🙂 Time will tell.

    • You’re right. I wrote this all last night, and yesterday was just a really emotional day. Letting your kid go off to a bunch of strangers for the first time is tough, and unless you’ve done it, you have no idea. So the feelings of that intermingled with the news of the high ESL population sent me for a tailspin. I do need to trust God. He knew that Caden would be going to this school. I’ve already told the teacher that I’m available to help in the classroom every Tuesday, if she needs. I’m totally turning into an annoying mom!!! Who knew? Haha!

  3. I’m with Stephanie – in fact, I’m even wondering if it might be beneficial for him to learn some Spanish from the other kids. Have you ever read about the benefits of early language acquisition, particularly of acquiring a second language? It really will benefit him in many more ways than you might think.

    • My worry isn’t that he’ll pick up Spanish from the other kids… because that would be awesome. 🙂 My worry is that the teacher will be spending a lot of her time trying to overcome a language barrier with the majority of her students and Caden will lose instructional time because of it. I know I can pick up the loose ends at home, but I just want the best for him, you know? But, yes, today is a new day and I’m looking at it from a new perspective. I’m going to give him some time and see how it goes.

  4. I think the “wait and see” approach is a wise one. That’s how we approach each school year. And I think if you’re volunteering in the classroom, that’s also a good thing, because you’ll get to know the teacher and the kids as well as see some interaction. That might go a long way to ease your mind. Or to confirm your worst fears. Either way, it’s a good thing to see for yourself what’s going on.

    Your little guys are TOO cute!

  5. What are the test scores for the school, that is what I would be looking at in terms of possible change in schools for next year it usually happens in January for transfers for the next school year, the scores just came out for last year this week. That might help your decision to move schools.
    If you feel the need this year to switch teachers, be that parent 🙂 The loudest scream gets the most attention. So yes give it a week or so, but the minute you have that gut feeling, make the call, a lot of calls. Be the parent I want to call back so you stop leaving messages, lol. Maybe if you could spend a morning in his class it would give you a better idea of his day. Good luck though tough choices!

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