Thursday, February 14, 2008

Little Miss Chatterbox

When I picked Margot up from school today, Mr. Scott was the teacher on duty. Mr. Scott is Margot's favorite teacher in her new classroom although I haven't figured out why she admires him so much more than Mr. Brian (the other lead teacher, who is equally engaging and kind).

At any rate, Mr. Scott always has something nice to say about Margot when I pick her up (hmmm...maybe she likes him so much because he's a good at building her self-esteem). Today he told me he wished she came to school five days a week (she only attends three days, although many kids in her class attend all five days).

"Really?" I asked. "That's a nice thing to say."

"She's the only one who holds real conversations," said Mr. Scott. "She just chats and chats and chats with me all day long."

This is just further confirmation that a career at NPR may be in Margot's future. I always suspected as much. Margot is truly enamored with her ideas and asking questions and, clearly, her own voice.

A different observation: Margot's new class is very male-dominated. Both of her lead teachers are male, and the assistant teacher is male as well. (Coming from Catholic elementary school, I never had a male teacher until high school, except for the gym teacher [Mr. Albano]. Who knew there was a whole world that exists in which male teachers play a role?) The majority of kids in her class are boys, although there are a handful of girls in the class and a few more will be moving in during the coming weeks.

I think all of these boys are a challenge for her because I've noticed that, as a general rule, she is more comfortable speaking to women/girls and interacting with them as compared to males. But she is learning how to break into the boys' games at school and I am glad she has this experience. Her teachers focus heavily on science (which she loves - she's been building a solar system with her class) and athletics (bi-weekly ice-skating outings). Her assistant teacher, Mr. Scheie, gave me pause on Margot's first day of class since he wears a do-rag (remember: my teachers were all nuns or homely ladies until I was 14!) but she's really bonded with him. He always finds a job for her: door holder, or line leader, or caboose (end of the line).

Final observation about Min's school: Today is Valentine's Day, and Min came home from school with enough candy to rival Halloween. I was surprised - it's generally considered bad practice to send candy/junk to kids' classrooms these days, especially in well-to-do urban areas. I sent Margot to school with plain Valentines to hand out (no candy, just cards). She returned with 6 or 7 small, homemade bags of candy. Has the backlash against sugar for kids been overrun by their parents' desire to provide the best-wrapped bag of treats?

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