I think my fear of my daughter starting school is unfounded. It might have to do with the fact that the first day of Kindergarten was one of the most traumatic days of my young life which I still carry vividly in my memories along with all the scary things that happened to me as a child. Life can be scary when you’re less than 3 feet tall and your Salvadorian mom is constantly yelling at you.
First, you must know that Spanish is my first language and when I say this I mean I didn’t know a lick of English until my mom dropped me off for Kindergarten. That first day all the kids were there with parents, I suppose it was orientation day. I like to call it “give a small child false hope of what school is going to be like” day.
So then came the second day where the parents didn’t stick around anymore. My mom walked me over to the cafeteria and parents were not allowed inside. There were lines but I had no idea where to go. Then there were people shouting instructions at me. I’ve never understood that; if someone doesn’t speak English speaking to them in louder ‘Shouting’ English isn’t going to make them understand, stupid!
My mom was standing just outside and was able to tell me where to go. Once I figured it out, I got my tray with food and went to sit at a table. Then there wasn’t anywhere to sit and again I looked for my mom for instruction. I wanted to give up and just have her take me home. This whole breakfast thing was confusing. I could still see my mom, standing there in the doorway. My eyes welled up with tears as I looked at her, all I wanted to do was be with her. I didn’t care if I was the only one crying (I don’t remember if I was) or who was staring at me. Twenty something years later this memory still makes me cry.
The rest of Kindergarten wasn’t too much better than that second day. I had an evil teachers aide who would scold me for not following directions by saying “we’re going to have a party and you’re not going to be invited”. Asshole. Who says that to a five year old?
Then there was the morning where a bird pooped on my head while I waited for school to start. Thankfully my dad was there, ready with his handkerchief.
To top it off there was the most embarrassing day when Vincent’s mom asked him which girl he liked as we stood in line and her turned around and pointed to me. I could’ve punched him but I had already gotten in trouble for hitting a girl with the tire swing. Pansy.
Kindergarten had some good points too, I remember I really liked my teacher. I was so happy when both of my parents were able to make it to my Halloween parade. The graduation ceremony was fun too, I’ll have to find that VHS and show it to my daughter.
I guess it wasn’t so bad. My daughter won’t have to go through the trauma of not understanding English and although she is very sensitive, she also outgoing. I’m sure she will be okay.