Today is my son's last day of second grade. Whatever destiny has in store in terms of where our family will live and work in the future, I've come to the realization that the cosmic reason that I was brought to South Carolina was for my kid to go to this school.
My second grade class was like Lord of the Flies, but not quite so compassionate.
I loved my initial second grade class, but we had to move when the place we were renting was turned into a condominium. In the school where I ended up, I was first introduced to indimidation and bullying. I had never played soccer before and didn't understand the game, and this was not acceptable to my new classmates. This, along with separation from all my old friends made me upset most of the time, prone to cry at the drop of a hat. This was just fuel for additional derision. That cycle fed itself very quickly. Second grade turned into third grade and then into fourth.
It took a long time and I eventually found my place, but I've never forgotten people's surprising capacity for cruelty. I swore to myself long ago that I would never allow my son to endure what I went through, that I would homeschool him myself before allowing his days to filled with the kinds of nonsense that took up so much of my cognitive and emotional space.
As excited as I was to come to South Carolina to work, let's face it—the public school system here has some problems, quite a few more than public school in general. Instead, we have been fortunate enough to find a brilliant school for my son. The faculty are tremendous. His teacher is without peer. I know every child, and they know me. All the kids in all the classes know and work with each other. They all love each other and do great work.
This isn't a screed about crises in public schools, or to dwell on injustice or inequity that has led to the current state of affairs in education in the U.S.. This is not where I wring my hands and feel guilty about sending my son to a private school while others may not be able to.
I just want to say that I am personally so grateful for the experience my son is having in school, and for every single person along the way who has allowed it to be this way. My boy doesn't want the summer to start, because he loves going to school so much. Rabbi Meir, Ms. Kelly, Morah Sheindal, Morah Vered, Ms. Kim, Ms. Jenny, Ms. Kristen, Alon, and especially Ms. Val… it's all because of you.