All you really have to do it pay attention. Close attention.

I work in one of ten elementary schools here in Smythe, Oregon. We are lucky to be the home of Oregon State University, which multiplies our population by about three gazillion every September, and changes our small town “feel” to one of big-city, crazy, amazing youthful expectation.

The official population is about 40,00 in the downtown area, and probably doubles in size with the surrounding townships. Bitchy’s high school enrollment (grades 9 - 12) was about 2,500 students, and three years after her graduation it remains about the same.

Our elementary schools continue to grow in size, and each of the kindergarten teachers in our particular school learned last week that we each would be starting the year with 26 students in our classes. That’s right; twenty-six. (@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@) ( In case you wondered what that LOOKS like. ) Any teacher who has worked in kindergarten KNOWS that the real feel for 26 is 100.

We were overjoyed when we received the email the other night letting us know that our school board had approved the hiring of four new teachers, one of whom would be joining us in kindergarten. (I’m sure you heard my screams of joy Tuesday night about 9:45 p.m.? And no, it wasn’t THAT, it was because of the new teacher; honest.)

We were introduced to Chloe Smithjones yesterday, and I instantly remembered her! She was an absolutely adorable recent graduate of our Oregon State University student teaching program, and coincidentally had been in our building for a two-month stint for a teacher on medical leave. Sure, she looks twelve, but that's a brilliant disguise on her part. She has weathered the insanity of a new school, new room, new EVERYTHING with an amazing maturity and a great sense of humor.

The four of us gathered today for another marathon meeting to outline our year, our fall, our first week and our first day. We talked about supplies, class lists, resources, field trips, literacy centers, resources, parent volunteers, recess, rules, philosophies, after-hour cocktail recipes, funny stories from the kids, fights with our own children and favorite foods to eat when stressed. We covered only the most important stuff.

It wasn't until a friend came into the room and I introduced her to Chloe that the light bulb went off. She said to my friend (whose daughter Saucy graduated with Bitchy), "Hey! Is your daughter Saucy? My brother graduated with her!"

I sat, feeling just as POLISH as I really am. (Which is a LOT.) She not only went to our University, but graduated from our local high school.

"Oh my God." I said. "Your brother is Sam? Sam Smithjones? He took Bitchy to the Junior Prom. Good grief, we're practically..."

"Sisters!" She shouted with a smile.

And it was at THAT moment, I knew.

She's not only cute...but brilliant, as well.

(She must be MUCH older that she looks.)


San Diego Momma said...

I bet you two look like sisters. Which means she's WAY younger than she looks.

Also? Today was Toots' first day of first grade. Guess how many kids are in the class? 27. And ONE teacher.

I'm thinking private school. But my wallet says suck it up.

WeaselMomma said...

The world is a small, yet happy place. Enjoy a great school year.

Rick Daley said...

And then 1,000 tiny dolls chimed in with a chorus of "It's a Small World After All"

Malisa said...

Hooray for that good news! 26 students in a K classroom is absolutely ridiculous, but I know how bad the economy is in Oregon! Fresh blood on your K team will be wonderful...especially if she knows what she is doing...which she obviously does based on her quick sister response! Have a fantabulous year!

J.J. in L.A. said...

I love it when that happens!

And my AZ brother LOVES the Ducks! The family lived in Eugene for about 10 years before migrating south.

Anonymous said...

so that was you I heard screaming...;)

Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style
Life in the fish bowl

An Unlikely Retirement said...

I absolutely love these "small world" stories. Such serendipity.

I was thrilled to be able to move my daughter to a school during her kindergarten year that had only 21 kids in her class, with both a teacher and a Foster Grandparent. There were 29 in the class in her original school - and the teacher wanted no help from parents, many of whom were willing to volunteer. Of course, every time I dropped in, the TV was on. NOT an Oregon school, of course.

SSP said...

twenty six?? really? I mean the small world story is awesome, but I am reeling at 26 and one teacher.....you poor, albeit incredibly youthful looking, thing!!

Anonymous said...

We have had those crazy class sizes in the past too and this year as well - BUT not in kindergarten! Thankfully! AND we gained so many kids in K, 1, 3, and 4th grades that each level added another teacher! Unfortunately 5th grades still have close to 30 kids per classroom! Our kindergartens have no more than 22 kids per classroom in Full-day and less than that in the half-day classroom. And I was overjoyed to hear that 4th grades only have 20 to 22 kids per classroom! Anyway - for those whose teacher don't want volunteers - check with your special area teachers like in music and art! Those teachers need your help too!!!

Brian Miller said...

ha. cool moment....and can you tone it down i was sleeping when you screamed...smiles.

Everyday Goddess said...

how amazing, that's great they hired more teachers!

still laughing at "screams of joy at 9:45pm."


Brenda Susan said...

Your new teacher is one smart cookie too! Congrats on the beginning of another great year full of crazy stories for all of us!
We don't have to LIVE them, that's your part. Our part is to read about them and LOL a lot!
I am ready to do my part.

Missy said...

When I was in the classroom, I loved hearing that we would be getting a teacher to reduce our load. I once had 38 sixth grade students for an entire year. It was chaos.

Robin Dodd Photography said...

This post was especially funny because I had a BIG HUGE margarita with Shawn tonight!

Elizabeth @ My Life, Such as it is... said...

Thankfully Kiddo only has 15 kids in his kindergarten class but it is a small neighborhood school.

Bodaciousboomer said...

You know, you just never how you might in some way be acquainted with someone? What's that thing- the 7 steps(?) to Kevin Bacon?

Mellodee said...

I sympathize over the 26 kids in your classrooms. I couldn't help but smile though. I went to a Catholic 3-room grammar school in a fairly small town in Fla. We had grades 1-8 in 3 rooms. Each room had one teacher and 45-50 kids in it split thusly:

1) First, Second, and Third Grades

2) Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades

3) Seventh and Eighth Grades

And I'd absolutely put my education there up against anyone's!

Of course, the teachers were nuns!! Maybe that's the difference?? And it was the 1950s....LOL!

slow panic said...

28? to me that would feel like 1,000.

Chlose Smithjones sounds wonderful. So glad you guys are getting some help.

Notes From ABroad said...

I just sent this to my friend, a second grade teacher in California. I know it will make him smile.

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Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Smart girl! I like her already!

Portia said...

As an Oregonian... I giggled at your U of O (Ducks) logo at the top of the page and then the mention of OSU (Beavers) later in the post. :)

love your blog.

Dawn said...

*Love* it when that happens!!
Love it a lot less when "kids" I taught when I was in college are now teaching beside me... I'm not THAT old, am I?

Looks like Mr. Anonymous is back stalking you again... must be all that after 9 pm screaming that drew him back in ;)

Cheryl D. said...

It sounds like she's going to fit right in beautifully at your school!

Anonymous said...

Ditto to what Portia said! :-) I love my Ducks! I'm sure you've seen the video (since you're also an Oregonian), you could add it to your post for Oregon love emphasis. Hee hee...

As Cape Cod Turns said...

That is one small town (Smythe, Oregon)!
So does that mean you do not have 26 in your class now? Because that is WAY too many for Kinderg. Move here, we have about 16 :)

http://howtobecomeacatladywithoutthecats.blogspot.com said...

Yowzer! The thought of 26 Kindergarteners in one room is just plain scary! So glad to hear that reinforcements arrived just in the nick of time.

Jane said...

Oh I can just imagine your excitement. It must be exciting to have someone with your team, and already share some connection with. Wish you all the best.

CSY said...

You know, VM your screams tend to be VERY loud! Hubs asked me what that noise was, had to make something up...he thought it was an owl or something. He'll be VERY relieved to know it was just you rejoicing on the smaller class size. Have a FUN year!

Alana, Author of Domestically Challenged said...

Very cool! I LOVE that you are a teacher (I am too) and that you blog authentically. I am too much of a priss to use my real "voice" - which includes a lot of 4 letter words.

Kara said...

You want to hear a horror story? I went to Meet the Teacher night a few days before my middle child started Kinder this year. I was told that there would be 50 (yep, you read that right) kids in her class, with no aides. Because of budget cuts, they could only afford 2 Kinder classes, enrollment didn't matter, etc. Then, school started, they hired another teacher, so there were 30+ kids in the class. By the middle of the first week of class, the teachers were STILL completely overwhelmed, so they had to hire another teacher. Now there are 24-26 kids in each class, not ideal, but still better than 50. Oh, and did I mention we just switched to "Calendar Year" enrollment? So half the kids in the class won't even turn 5 until school already started? Yeah, it's pretty awesome.

only a movie said...

Wow 26 five year olds? YIIiiikes. So glad you have a new colleague.

Happy First Day of school. I still have over a week before the kids show up, but I've been in my classroom trying to organize. :-)

tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

SMART teacher! :) Also, I love the new Asian following you have above...

Wild Child said...

She is brilliant and you are lucky to have her. (and oh, thank goodness you don't have 26 kids in your classes, I was amazed that the teachers could keep it together at 20, I could not imagine 26!)

Anne said...

I love you too much to leave you... but get that DAMN duck off your page! :-) You need the Black and Orange fierce beaver up there.

Met my little first graders today. ABSOLUTELY adorable. Now, about some of those parents... kinda scary... but it is going to be a GREAT year.

Ann Imig said...

Great post. She is so lucky to work with you!!


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