The first day of school has come and gone without much fanfare. At our school, day one is a very short day. The kids arrive at 8:49, are escorted to their new classroom, and then released back into the wild.
When all is said and done, they have attended school for 15 minutes. I'm sure it's less for the sake of the kids as it is for the sake of the teachers. Never throw an agoraphobe into a field. Always show him the field first. So it is with returning children.
"15 minutes," the principal said to them that morning in the staff room, as they hugged each other, shed tears, and trembled in corners. "Just sit with them for 15 minutes." And then they were off to storm the beach.
Things went well, therefore, because there was little time for Natalie to not enjoy school. She has made it quite clear that she isn't interested in school, and I thought it was because she was afraid.
"Are you scared that you won't make friends?" I asked her.
"No," she said.
"Are you scared that the teacher won't like you?"
"Are you scared that you won't know what to do?"
I paused. "Are you scared?"
She said she wasn't scared. Nor was she nervous. But she agreed that she was worried.
"And what are you worried about?"
She sighed and looked me straight in the eye. "I'll probably be bored."
I nodded slowly. "I see ..."
"I don't want to be bored."
I guess it pays to ask these things. My concept of her experience with school has suddenly changed. She is anxious about it -- I knew that -- but I always thought it was anxiety about the unknown, or about being in a class full of kids she didn't want to interact with.
It's none of that. She doesn't want to be bored. How do you deal with that?