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Julia Sims: Surviving second grade

Posted June 13

Julia Sims with son Will

Well, we made it! Honestly, I think I'll call this our "glory year!" I know, I know... don't laugh. Seriously, this was the year I think it all "clicked" for our little family.

Will landed in a wonderfully diverse class with a teacher who was the very definition of a great educator. Our son grew under her guidance and adored her as much as Mike and I did.
I can't put my finger on it, but I feel like second grade was somewhat of a transitional year. So, if you're like me, there are some things you will definitely need to survive second grade:

Tissues

(This really applies to every year!) My husband and I walk Will to school and usually chat with his teacher for a few minutes. About a month into the school year, I looked around and saw many of Will's friends heading into school by themselves. That's when I decided to walk him to the front door and let him head off to class by himself.

No big deal, right? Well, easier said than done.

Throughout the year, many days I found myself weepy-eyed as I watched my little boy with the big backpack walk away from me with seemingly no cares in the world. But, there was also a sense of joy seeing the confidence in his little second grade swagger.

I wasn't the only one who cried though. I remember the day Will came home, ran into his room and threw himself on his bed. A girl in class had called him a nerd. It crushed him. It turned out he didn't care about the girl, but he did care that others heard her call him the name. He was embarrassed. I told him to remember how she made him feel and to make sure he never does that to anyone else.

Real talk

Will had a least one friend this year who had to deal with a bully. I couldn't believe it. Second grade - really? Really.

We used the opportunity to talk about kindness, standing up for a friend, etc. I also made sure I told Will that he's now at the age he needs to keep his hands to himself. Perception is everything.

We also had many conversations about the disparity at school. This was the year Will really became more aware of not just the people around him, but their situations.

He has some friends who are homeless and some who are in the foster care system. He's had so many questions about why they don't have a bed to call their own. I wished I had the answer, and more importantly, the solution. These questions though led to good conversation on how we can all help the people around us.

On the classroom front, the homework struggle continues to be alive and well! Keeping us all organized remains a challenge. All in all though, it was a very good year.

I wouldn't say we're in cruise control mode by any stretch of the imagination. But, for the first time, I really think we're going to survive this thing called elementary school. (Of course, check in with me after third grade. I may change my mind).

Julia is the mom of one and a reporter for WRAL-TV. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.

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