Middle school seems a lot like college to me. The kids each follow their own schedule, which lists the subject, the teacher, the classroom number, etc. The first time I saw the schedule, it looked like a matrix with rows full of cryptic entries such as “IRLA, Seenan, B376”. No two kids on the same “team” seem to have the exact same schedule (do not understand why there needs to be soooo much mixing up!). So, the kids are pretty much all on their own watch. There is no walking around conveniently in herds from one class to the other.
Then, there is the small matter of the hallowed locker, which gets visited multiple times a day while on the run between classes. This one is my personal terror. I mean, on orientation day, I could not for the life of me get it to open (although little N did ultimately figure it out, and I suppose that’s what matters). All this is quite a contrast to my own (relatively) staid 6th grade experience in India (where the same group of kids sat in the same classroom for most of the day, and the teachers came and went). The “mobile” schedule of my 11 year old, therefore, was a tad beyond my comfort level.
Imagine then my reaction when I stumbled upon that all important schedule sitting on the kitchen table yesterday morning (just minutes after little N got on the school bus). With her classes carefully marked, and instructions that she had hand-written to remind herself about how to open her locker. Felt heart-in-mouth. “How is the girl going to manage in school today?!”, N and I thought. Wondered if she would think to ask the school office, or one of her teachers to help her get a copy of her schedule. Or would she have no clue where to go, be late for her classes, and get yelled at? Briefly contemplated looking at a map of the school if only to assure ourselves that all her classes were near one another and she would somehow get by. But, this was a weekday morning and the clock was a-ticking. We both had work meetings to get to, and little A to get ready for her bus, so thankfully, there was no time to make a Ph.D. dissertation out of the schedule matter. Instead, decided (conveniently) that there was a solid teaching moment here, and this was as good a time as any for little N to experience the consequences of her actions. So, reluctantly abandoned plans of running to little N’s school (enroute to work) with schedule in-hand.
Thought about little N multiple times during the day, and hoped she was faring ok and was not too thrown off (“petha manam pithu“, what can I say?!). Called her as soon as she returned from school, and inquired how her day went. “It was good”, she answered. “Oh, even without your schedule?”, I asked v. casually (pretending to be the cool cat that I am obviously not). My (Virgo) baby answered: “Mommy, I printed six copies of my schedule last week. I have one copy in my bag, one pasted to my agenda book, and four extra copies in my locker. I left that schedule behind on the kitchen table for a reason.” Plus, turns out that the formidable locker is “no big deal” after four days of school.
Okay, then. I think this chicki is ready for college.