It’s been a *few* years since I’ve been in school. I don’t have much to compare with public schools as I went to an all girl’s high school taught by fearsome nuns. (Okay, some of them were pretty cool, but that’s another story) So, my daughter asked me to spend the day with her at school for parent’s day. I thought, no big deal…I’ve got this! So, I arrived to empty halls, a quiet school of learning and entered, got my special pass and headed to her class in session. I remember thinking how peaceful and serene everything was, and then THE BELL RANG.
I was bombarded by a virtual SEA OF CHILDREN. They came from every direction, screaming, jumping, cussing, zooming. I was instantly transported to the nightclub dance floor except it smelled MUCH worse. I found my daughter somehow and we made it, alive and unscathed, to science class. Thankfully, we were escorted by some person who was tall like me, so I figured I would just follow her and try to survive. In the science class, the teacher didn’t have ANY CLUE WHAT SHE WAS DOING and I wound up literally, loading up the lesson on all the laptops that would actually work and was able to get the class working. The laptops were older than mine which says a lot since I bought mine in 2008 and it barely does anything now.
After that fiasco, it was time for lunch.
It was THE worst thing I’ve ever tasted. Granted, I try to eat “healthy-ish” and if I get pizza, I try to go to a pizza place owned by people who speak Italian and still toss the crust in the air, so I had high expectations. I wound up pulling off like two pepperonis and I used my spork to tear a piece of cheese off. I left the rest. The line was semi-organized chaos, but somehow they managed to feed the like 600 children in the room, who were all screaming and eating at the same time. I think we wound up having like 7 minutes to eat and then this woman came in and I got caught talking and I sank myself down as she gave me “the look” (personal note: remember that look and perfect it for at home). The girls at the table told me that this was the “time you can’t talk”. They said I would probably be off the hook since I was a parent.
After we were dismissed, it was time to walk at the grueling 4.3 mph pace we seemed to all go and head to World Cultures. I learned quite a bit about the Mayans and I have a greater appreciation for English now that I know they had 700 hieroglyphics in their writing system. By the time I settled down and was really learning something, BAM! the bell rang again. Then it was off to math class. While I know Satan created math, he was not present. Instead, a nice substitute was there and handed out some paper that I actually understood My daughter did not understand anything on the paper as they explained it to her, but we got a hold of a calculator and made it through (she has Autism, so you have to give her a pass here; math is her weakness)
So, after this class we went to the CLASS THAT SMELLS VERY BAD, otherwise known as “Gym”. I was told by the teachers and other assistants that I was “lucky” since I was in the girl’s locker room. I was told the boy’s locker room was much worse. Well, after the pizza, I figured I could handle anything. I WAS WRONG. Since I have an 18 year old son at home, I used my mouth-breathing technique that is utilized for bathroom cleaning and I made it through; barely. We played a pretty fierce game of ping-pong and I took no mercy on my child opponents. We lost twice, but it sounds better that way.
Finally, we went to chorus, where they openly humiliated…I mean included all the parents in a game of row, row, row your boat, but instead it was some maniacal hand-clapping, snapping and knee touching repetitive thing that was like some mutated Macarena without the nightclub or the dark room to hide in. Then, the bell rang and we were free. FREE! I couldn’t wait to get out of that building, but I wouldn’t trade spending the day with my daughter for anything. I learned a LOT.
One of the main lessons I took from this was that my daughter’s school has over 1750 children in it. It’s too many children, too loud, too confusing and I truly cannot understand how they learn anything. If you have a child like mine, who deals with Autism, anxiety and severe ADHD, I can see why she is drowning. They try to help, but it really just is too much. I left with a better understanding of what kids go through in this setting and my heart aches for the ones who can’t keep up. Opening the doors and heading to an even more crowded parking lot with over 1500 kids trying to get to their buses was no less chaotic. This time, my daughter was relieved to be heading home with me, in the car. She asked me if I could come to school with her every day and I had to tell her I couldn’t, but I know I will be more sympathetic in the future when she says she had a rough day.