Monday, 14 January 2013

What is a School?


    What is a school?  A school is not merely cinderblocks, bricks and mortar.  A school is a place where memories are made (and scars both physical and mental).  It is a place where we learn autonomy (a place where we are constantly reminded by our teachers "I'm not your mother!").  At school we learned not only the three "R", but got a crash course on dealing with others.  It was a place where I discovered who I was and made some life long friends.
   The year before last my kids came home flushed with excitement.  "We're getting a new school." They announced.  There was some excitement and some trepidation "But I like our OLD School." I myself was over come with the news.  I too had mixed emotions.  Their schools have seen better days, they are old.  The idea of a new school on the surface was exciting, all shiny and new, but it was also sad.  My kids go to the same schools that I went to.
    I remember taking Gabe to Junior Kindergarden for the first time.  I opened the big black heavy door.  Everything looked almost exactly the same as when I was a child.  The blue stenciled Jack and Jill  1950ish painting on the white cinderblock wall had been replaced by a bright and happy picture of two bunnies enjoying a book together, but the school was pretty much the same.  I was instantly transported back to that school, to that time in my life.   The little library had the exact same carpet, the exact same little wooden rocking chairs.  It was a snap shot in time, with the exception of the new alien looking computers that were now set up along the back of the room.  When Gabe first started even some of the teachers that had been there when I attended were still there.  I took all of the kids to the school on the week before they started kindergarden, letting them look around the playground.  I took great pride in telling each of them "This is the school that Mommy went to when she was a little girl".
    The new school will be a kindergarden to grade eight school.  I was not very happy when I learned this.  My little people would be lost in the sea of the big kids.  Perhaps even more than that worry was gone would be that great feeling of accomplishment when you went from the "little" school to the "big" school.  It was a rite of passage.  It felt so good to look across at the "little" school with that smug feeling, knowing that you were now one of the big kids.
    I do not like change, I do not easily embrace change.  I know that a new school will be very exciting.  It will have the newest, brightest and best new things.  I have seen the plans for the new school and if the actual school is anything like the proposed drawings that I have seen, it will be beautiful!  My kids will be the first generation to step through those doors, that is exciting.  I know all of this, and yet I feel sad that my kids are the last generation to go to those same two little schools that I went to.  I know that change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it.

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