Friday, August 7, 2009

School Orientation

There was excitement in the air as we drove up to the new school. New uniforms, new books, new pens and pencils. There was a meeting scheduled at 10:15 for new students but we arrived at 9:30 to go through admissions, arrange transport (school bus), and numerous other "stations."

We found the sports complex, otherwise known as the gym, and the kids were asked to sit in the "waiting bay" as I was given homework to do. I had to update emails, phone numbers, address etc. and another form re: food preferences, allergies and vaccinations. Important things like veg or non veg. Do they eat ghee, mutton, or pork? I was sure I had filled this out previously and of course I didn't have all the info about vaccinations with me. Oh yes, I remembered, I had filled it out in Canada and brought it with me - it was sitting in a file folder back at the house.

Got through that and onto transportation. The school has a fleet of 22 buses that pick up and drop off all the kids. Alanna and Craig get picked up just around the corner from our house at 7:50am and dropped off at home at 4:35pm. I think they should get to school within 1/2 hour. They go to their classroom, drop off their stuff and then proceed to the dining hall for breakfast. Did I say breakfast? Yes I did. Both breakfast and lunch are provided! Yipee! Think of the time saved in the morning. They just get up, get dressed and go! One of my pet peeves is thinking up things to give them for lunch. I have a two year reprieve, I am so going to enjoy NOT having to feed my children!

That`s all we got through and then we had to go upstairs for the meeting for new families. In walks a caucasian woman, with long dark hair, wearing six inch high heals (wedge). She has on a black and white polka dot dress with short sleeves and a full skirt. A wide belt is tied into a large bow at the waist. Well, she looks just like Minnie Mouse, I think. The big, square sunglasses sitting on top of her head could even be the signature ears.

She walked straight to the front of the room and introduced herself as the school psychologist, responsible for making our transition to a new school, new home and new country a smooth one. Actually, she spoke very well, and reassured us that the students would be assessed constantly for stress and that she had a team of counsellors available to students and the family, particularly the poor, depressed mothers left home all alone while their children are occupied at school and husbands at work.

Personally I`m relishing the thought of spending Monday alone. I should really go down to Commercial Street and pick up the curtains that I ordered last week. But there are so many other tempting options. I could go to Bliss, the Belgian chocolate lounge in the mall and have a nice cappuccino and eat all the chocolate I want - and not have to share anything. Or I could go to the pool and lounge around, order a nice cool drink and read a good book. Of course, if I get truly bored someday I could resort to...the fitness room and, ugh, exercise.

Anyway, back to the school. None of the other administrators were at the new student meeting as they were all at the scary H1N1 flu meeting (formerly known as swine flu). Yes, with children flying in at this very moment from over 50 countries the school may be in a bit of a panic. Each student will have their temperature and blood pressure checked on Monday to check for symptoms...and then what??

Back down to the gym we picked up Alanna's books, texts and both kids uniforms. They had a check list, threw everything into a bag, I signed for it and off we went home. Dumped it all out right away of course on Alanna's bed and sensed something was missing. Yes, definitely - we had multiple gym shorts, gym shirts, socks, ties, a cap for Craig, even shoes. But no UNIFORM!

Well, the kids tried on what they had and Craig looked quite good, he liked the colors and everything fit well. Alanna, on the other hand can't stand the color or design. She is appalled. The track suit was a couple inches too short in the pants and sleeves. I have to admit they are not very attractive.

Michael and I went alone in the morning to listen to administrative speeches and get some info on the IB program. The kids came in the afternoon to see their classes and teachers. Craig is in Grade five and has two very nice teachers. There are 23 in his class I think. They will be studying ancient civilizations and are talking about a two night/3 day trip to Hampi for his class at the end of the month. Hampi is an ancient city a few hours from here - should be a great experience - I hope I get to go!

Alanna, in grade seven, has a male homeroom teacher, much to her chagrin. There are three grade 7 classes (as there are three grade five classes) and I think they stay in their own class for the most part, but they will have different teachers for different subjects.

The fun part will be next week when they start to choose their activities - sports, clubs, languages and other options. And lastly we picked up the rest of their uniforms so they will have something to wear to school bright and early Monday morning.

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