Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School

Much as we came to love and appreciate the kids' school in Holland, I feel relieved to be back in the American system. I feel both that I understand the teachers’ qualifications and credentials and also that my expectations are shared, that I don’t have to explain myself every time we have a question or a problem. The school is very small and very friendly. There are nine kids in Ruth’s grade, ten in Ed’s, and thirteen in Lucy’s. Ed is in an art class with more than 20 kids, which is the biggest class any of them have; most of the classes have a few more or a few fewer than ten kids. Ruth’s AP Chemistry/Physics class has only 3 kids in it. We’ve had some nice conversations with teachers; they appear to be very concerned about helping kids move forward from where they are, and many of the classes are individualized to a greater degree than we’ve seen at other schools (of course the classes are smaller than at other schools, too!).

On the second day of school, David and I met with Ed and the high school science/math teacher to talk about Ed’s electives. On the way out of the meeting, we ran into the principal. He was holding a platter of cut-up mangoes. He took us and Isaac and Nora along with him to feed the school’s tortoises. Last year the fifth grade built a tortoise habitat to provide boundaries for the tortoises, who had taken to chasing kids during recess. There are three small tortoises—each maybe a foot across—and one named Goliath who is about twice as big. Feeding the tortoises was the highlight of Isaac’s day.


Princess said...

Those class sizes sound heavenly! We have been anxious to hear about the first few days of school and are delighted that it seems to be going well.

Nathan said...

Perhaps Ed should be renamed Goliath in honor of the turtle. It looks like he has grown to be about 3 feet taller than the last time I saw him.