### back-to-school night

in single file, slightly apprehensive parents shuffled into the 4th grade classroom.

teacher: paul's mom and dad?

cam: how did you know?

teacher: i looked at your face.

as paul's math/science teacher started to talk, i suddenly felt more than slightly apprehensive. i was full-on apprehensive. i was suddenly in the fourth grade again and reminded anew of how much i hated math and science. math and science hated me. did i hate them because i was stupid? or was i stupid because i hated them? either way, the irony of sending a math/science-phobic child to a math/science school NEVER escaped me.

as the teachers' presentation continued (the 4th grade supports a tag team approach: classes are taught in pairs--each teacher covers the same topic twice a day), the apprehension continued. worries about paul's very sweet, coddling third grade teacher were bearing fruit in front of my face: the "as long as he understands the material and is doing it correctly, it doesn't matter if he only finishes less than half of an assignment" attitude of all of last year wasn't going to do paul any favors in a classroom environment where math success would come through repetition and drill and regular practice. cam liked the math/science teacher quite a bit. can't remember how many times i heard that "mr. x doesn't fuck around."

the teachers require a rather complicated paperwork system involving 13-compartment accordion files. i'm assuming it will work out okay because it sounded like this was the teachers' regular practice, but paul has a lot to learn about organization before he will be able to successfully implement something like this.

i don't mean to sound pessimistic, but i am torn between the concept of letting paul fail so he can learn the right lessons and taking all of the blame for the failures of my children. i could be completely wrong: forced to listen and do, he could flourish in this environment. but he could also get completely frustrated and shut down. i just don't know. time will tell, i suppose.