I've lived on the school year schedule almost my whole life. I've only been separated from the schedule for about a year after I finished high school. I've married a teacher, become a teacher, stopped being a teacher, started being a teacher, stopped being a teacher, returned to a different sort of teaching that is nonetheless governed primarily by the school year calendar.
My own children are starting their school years today. The 8th grader is focused on wearing skinny jeans, texting, basketball, his two band periods (jazz piano and french horn!), and his place in the social fabric of middle school. The 1st grader is anxious. She sits in nervous immobility at the breakfast table, waiting for her food to climb into her mouth.
As a child, my life was tumultuous. The family was broken when I came out of the womb. My parents divorced shortly after my birth, and my mother died when I was 6.
The children were taken with seeming reluctance by my birth father- my brother's adopted father. We did offer the benefit of two Social Security checks every month until we finished high school.
The chaos of this environment was readily apparent on all days of school, but I would guess (since I can't remember so well) that the chaos of my home life was featured on the first day of school. It could have been the case that school was a refuge for me, and that the chaos of home was discarded for the welcome organization of school.
This was the day that my Father would probably not remember when school was starting, and that I would probably be woken by my brother, because getting up in the morning was frequently not part of the adult's plans on any given day.
This means that I have no resources to draw on to help fill out my memories of childhood. My brother is helpful in that regards sometimes.
When I say education, I almost immediately think about primary education. I've always worked with young children from ages 3 through 7 or so.
Now that I've put that out there, I'll also add that I was and am probably a perfect model of the ADHD brain. The sort of brain that I and my son have in common is the type of brain that doesn't stop for remembering. Reflection is a luxury resulting from focus and patience.
My first memories of school are scant. I remember preschool moments. I remember disregarding the rules about playing with the rolling toys. They were red plastic ladders with wheels at 4 points so that they could roll. We were not supposed to lay face down but I did. I remember getting the gravel bits pulled from my lower lip and placing it in an envelope for safe keeping.
Kindergarten may not have been a requirement for my generation. I have no recollection of anything like kindergarten.
In first grade, I remember falling through the ladder rungs on the metal slide at Spalding Elementary in Richland Washington.
I do not remember learning to read. I do not remember anything that I learned.
In Second Grade, we had moved to Western Washington, and we lived in a suburb of Seattle. I remember that the man who was my teacher was a volunteer firefighter, and that he allowed us to fingerpaint with food coloring and toothpaste. We did this on our desk.
In third grade, I remember going to school with a self conscious welt on the muscle of my forearm. It was the result of my poor attempt at escaping the spoon being aimed at my little ass. In retrospect, it probably would have been wiser to take it on the padded bits.
I remember being told about the kid who had fallen backwards in his chair, and had taken the full force of the fall right on the back of his neck leaving him paralyzed! I remember being taken from the class to test for advanced learning. I remember that nothing changed after that, so I must not have done too well. I remember wondering how someone could leave their pants on the playground. I remember that very clearly. "How in the world could someone leave their pants here!?"
I remember being in love. I remember that she was the queen of the kissing club, and that in order to demonstrate that I had no need for the kissing club, I would chant, "I hate Amy and Amy hates me." I remember when she developed a stye on her eye, and part of her eye swelled up so that she thought she was hideous. I remember telling her that she still looked good, and that I still liked her, even if she did have a stye on her eye.
I remember meeting the Vietnamese kids.
What are your earliest memories of school?