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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Elternversammlung

I'm losing my English. In my conversations with CJ, half the words we use are German now, because we don't want to rummage around in our brains for an adequate phrase. Eltern means parents. Versammlung means assembly. Parent-assembly sounds like you bought a set of parents in a flatpack at Ikea and now have to put them together with nothing but an Allen wrench and a set of hieroglyphics.

Anyway. The parents of the new fifth graders all gathered in the assembly hall at the school and were talked at for three hours. Information on the tutors; a few charities the school is involved in; the school itself as a charity, i.e. please contribute money so we can buy instruments for the music classes and such; how gymnasium is different from elementary school and how to help the kids adjust; steps to take to resolve a problem between a child and a teacher; rules on choosing their second and third foreign languages - gack on this one. They are already taking English, next year they can add French or Latin, and the year after that they can add Italian or French if they already chose Latin, but if they already chose French they can't choose Latin, only Italian - who makes rules like this? It makes no sense at all. Anyway.

Then we all trooped to the homerooms of our respective children and met all their teachers, who seem quite nice, and heard about oh, the ALF program, which sounds like an equivalent of DARE, the school library, more study tips, what to do about absences, et-fucking-cetera.

It's a nice school, I will say that. But boy do people like to talk. My German is less than perfect, but I am advanced enough to be able to tell when someone is saying in 50 words what they could say in ten. And when you have to concentrate fiercely on every word, only to find at the end of the sentence that it was filler, you get annoyed. Three hours of Wall-of-German, and I was exhausted. I had a headache all day today.

Anyway, sorry I wasted all your time on that, because the point is mainly that after all the other parents were gone, we talked to Kilian's main teacher, Mr. Lanzinger, who is a really nice guy, and yeah, he's already noticed the ADD. He says Kilian is well smart enough to survive gymnasium, so we don't have to worry about him flunking out (whew!), but that his behavior could well isolate him from the rest of the class and make him a target for bullying. Not whew. So of course we'll have to talk with Kilian, a lot, and help him organize his workspace, and supervise him closely and give him routines and make sure he follows them and so on. So of course I was full of resolve when we left, but also full of fatigue, which has carried over to today, and the thought of all the work I will have to do just wears me out before I even start.

I know it sounds easy, "just" set a routine, just "make" him stick to it. But if I have learned anything from my nearly eleven years as a mother, it is that I am uniquely unqualified for this particular task. Oh I know there's no one else to do it, so I just have to, but that's been true for eleven years, and I haven't succeeded yet.

I wish other people didn't make it look so easy.

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