When I picked Quinn up from school, she and her classmates were all crying as they came to the realization that their time with their teacher, Mrs. Smith, was ending 🥺. I’m going to miss her too and am appreciative of how awesome, caring and generous she was. These last few years have been overwhelming, to say the least, but she made Quinn’s third grade experience a memorable, wonderful one for which I’m grateful.
This is it: the last day of third grade for my daughter. She’s excited, and I am too! I’m so glad Quinn had a wonderful school year back in the classroom after virtual learning for the previous year and a half.
She’s grown so much, both physically, intellectually and mentally, for which I’m grateful. Now it’s time for some summer break fun!
Today, my daughter along with 57 third graders did presentations on the United States of America. About a month ago, each student selected a state to investigate and find out facts to share for this special day. Quinn excitedly told me, “I picked Michigan because Daddy went to University of Michigan!”
Though she worked on the project independently in school, my husband and I occasionally asked her random questions about Michigan to make sure she was prepared. We discussed ideas for her outfit, she helped locate images for me to iron on her shirt. Her dad let her borrow his University of Michigan hat and “Michiganopoly” game.
We both proudly came wearing our navy blue and gold to support Quinn, and she did not disappoint. I noticed that quite a few parents stopped by to hear her presentation as I circulated around the room to hear about other states from different children. I’m so proud of Quinn and so glad my husband and I were able to be there for her.
I love that my daughter’s school uses Class Dojo to share events and classroom memories. But last week’s memory was extra special. For the first time in two years, I spotted Quinn’s smiling face immediately. She didn’t blend in with the sea of children wearing masks where I had to zoom in to find her. I immediately spotted her in the middle of the third grade crowd holding with a peace sign in the air with a huge smile on her face.
Most recently, her school made the difficult decision to make masks optional. Since Quinn is vaccinated, my husband and I allowed her to determine if she wanted to keep wearing a mask. She opted not to but said she wants to carry one with her just in case.
Though I blurred out the faces of the other children for privacy purposes, they all looked so happy, and it practically brought tears of joy to my eyes to see all of their smiles. Is the tide officially turning? I hope so! These children are so resilient and been through so much. They deserve to have some fun without constantly worrying about all that came with the pandemic. We all do! Here’s to seeing everyone smile big in the weeks and months to come! 😁
My daughter’s teacher posted a picture of her on Class Dojo earning a certificate of achievement award for successfully completing the division section in the XtraMath program her third grade classroom uses. Quinn was so excited because this means she completed all of the sections, including addition, subtraction and multiplication.
I was very proud of her too, but seeing the picture and her smiling eyes made me appreciate this school year even more. Last year around this time, Quinn was still learning virtually and had not been in the classroom since March 2020. Though she must wear her mask and there are more Covid cases on the rise lately with the Omicron variant causing the number of students physically in the classroom to dwindle, the more direct interaction she gets with her teacher and classmates is all adding up to a different yet wonderful school year.
Of course, I’m all for safety first, but my fingers are crossed that the Covid cases will subside, Quinn will remain in the classroom and getting to add on terrific learning experiences and interactions for the next six months.
As my husband and I entered our daughter’s third grade classroom with soft classical music playing, I was filled with joy, not only because her teacher reminds me so much of my third grade teacher but because this was the first time I was back in my daughter’s school, let alone classroom for over a year and a half!
Though Quinn did such a wonderful job adapting to virtual learning last year and never complained about not being in the classroom, when I read her “About Me” presentation that she put together for my husband and me, I came to the realization that she missed being in person more than I thought.
There’s something special about being in person. That interaction with classmates and the teacher is needed for most and allows them to thrive and socialize. Though knowing that the vaccine is not available for Quinn’s age group still makes me a bit nervous, I’m grateful that she was not robbed of another year of limited to know socialization with her classmates and teacher.
On top of that, she was selected as the student of the month for her classroom which makes me very proud. This truly is starting off to be a special “back to school” experience for my daughter and me as well.
While scrolling though my Instagram feed, I came across a picture of a familiar girl in a setting that’s been unfamiliar to her for nearly a year. It was my daughter in her second grade classroom posing for Reading Across America Superhero day. Though her mouth was hidden behind her required face mask, due to Covid-19 restrictions, I could see her smile through her eyes. It was a smile of joy to be back in the classroom simply doing a classroom activity. A smile may not seem like much, and being in the classroom certainly would have been considered a regular occurrence last year. But after missing seeing her teacher and classroom in person, I know Quinn and her other three classmates, who are in-person on a hybrid schedule, consider these little moments to be a big deal. I know I do!
The big day went from Monday to Thursday due to snow, and I was just as nervous and excited as I was when my daughter started kindergarten. Three months as a first grader and her entire experience as a second grader have been all virtual, and she would be returning to school in-person after learning virtually since March 2020.
Though her school was thorough in providing virtual information sessions, materials and videos regarding the procedures, I didn’t know how many children opted to remain virtual and how many would be in person. I feared Quinn being all alone I. Her classroom with just the teacher. As tempted as I was to email her teacher midway through the first day, I held back, and her teacher kindly sent an email with a few pictures of the children in the classroom.
It’s a small group, just four girls, and one of them was in my daughter’s kindergarten and first grade classroom. This put my mind at ease some. When Quinn walked through the door from school, our puppy was so happy to see her, as was I, especially hearing the smile in her voice.
“I had an amazing day, Mommy!” Quinn told me. I listened intently as she told me all about her day and how everything was set up. Though we have a long road ahead of us with the Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination process, I’m so happy that Quinn is getting more socialization with children her own age.
As I looked over at my daughter’s first grade picture from 2019, it occurred to me that she wouldn’t have one for second grade, or would she? Thank goodness one of my avocations is digital design, so I was able to set up a special photo shoot just for her for 2020. She eagerly picked out the hairstyle she wanted, one where she got to wear some of her hair out. Quinn even selected the dress she wanted to wear and came up with some of her own poses.
Though we won’t have an actual “class” picture this year, I’m glad that I didn’t allow Covid-19 restrictions and the busyness of virtual learning for Quinn and online teaching for me to allow the significance of second grade to go overlooked. We’ll also be able to look back on this memory when we have all twelve of her class pictures, thirteen including kindergarten, and reflect on the year that we had extra memorable moments together.
Virtual learning is less stressful and far more relaxing, right? Wrong! Well, maybe for some, but for me…the jury is still out. The first week back teaching virtual courses and interacting with students synchronously and asynchronously, helping my second grader through the process and addressing a technical issue or two while tending to our 15 week old puppy and taking him to his first puppy grooming midweek and then class today left me wonder how I’m going to manage to balance it all in the coming weeks.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only imagine how parents with multiple children who may not be able to work from home are holding up. So with this in mind, I may be feeling a tad exhausted at times, but I’m grateful.
Who knows when, but one day I’ll find myself reminiscing about the moments of us all being home, bonding and working through it all together. There’s so much to learn right now, and I’m trying my best to keep that in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed.