Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Teacher Letter

Forget the latest John Grisham novel or one of the Harry Potters, in late August in my town, the most highly anticipated piece of writing is "the teacher letter." At the end of the summer, the local elementary schools send each student a letter with the name of his or her teacher for the upcoming school year. No one knows exactly when the teacher letters are going to be sent out from year to year. Parents and children alike check the mailboxes more frequently in these dog days of August. When the letter arrives, it is four pages of school information, but all anyone cares about is the one line of type with the teacher's name on it. My soon-to-be third grader (my brother tells me the term is "rising third grader") received her letter on Friday. Someone should have shouted "And they're off!" The phones were off the hook that is. Little girls were calling each other all around town answering ,"Who do you have?" quickly before dialing the next friend. We saw several families we know at the grocery store and it was more of the same. except for my rising fourth grader son who did not receive his letter that day. He had no answer for the question on everyone's lips. This was yet one more piece of evidence to support his theory that the universe has conspired against him and in favor of his sister. When the mail arrived on Saturday, he sprinted to the mailbox, tore open the letter, and frantically scanned for the name of his teacher. I had a brief nausea-inducing vision of the future and college acceptance (or rejection letters). Calls were made, messages were returned, and he has at least one friend in this year's class. Thank goodness we're back to looking for the latest issues of American Girl and National Geographic Kids magazines in the mailbox. They carry much less emotional impact.

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