Pretty much every year the elementary grades spend one week of school out "in the nature"-- it's camp, basically. Squire's first grade teacher didn't take them because she was afraid they'd all drown in the lake or get eaten by bears (that one did wonder for the fears of a number of students, I am sure, since she saw no situation without seeing a positively Gothic ending). But anyway, Squire's enjoyed the camps he's been to: he comes home with a dozen adventure stories, rich with the smell of campfires and unwashed boy.
He decided he didn't want to go this year because they're combining the two fifth grades and he doesn't like the other fifth graders and he particularly dislikes their teacher. He decided so firmly that he didn't even bring the forms home, so the first I heard of it was at the parent/teacher meeting when everybody was talking like they knew all about it. Awhoops: CAUGHT.
So anyway. The last week has been kind of a battle of him trying to put his foot down and me insisting that he doesn't have a leg to stand on. It is school. If he doesn't go there, I still have to send him to school every day to be babysat by the fourth grade teacher, and he still has to do the work. So. I've told him if he has a compelling reason, a logical articulated reason, then I will consider his REQUEST to not go, but he cannot REFUSE to go on the basis of "don't feel like it". We've gone rounds.
Don't get me wrong; I am not unsympathetic to disliking people. I myself dislike wide swaths of humanity. It's just, I ground my dislike in actions and outcomes. I dislike people who drive through crosswalks without checking for pedestrians because they hit me. I dislike people who are sloppy because other people have to clean up after them. I dislike teachers who talk about everything in terms of fear and danger because they frighten children into paralysis. So if he can say he dislikes this other teacher because of some action that has affected him in some way, I am behind him. But I suspect that the reason he doesn't like her is because she is the teacher of the rival class, which is the elementary school equivalent of being the coach of the opposing team: they make good lightning rods.
Since the classes will be combined next year, the sooner the two groups of students get over this rivalry and start learning to exist in each other's spheres (and respect each other's teachers) the better. I wish I knew more sports cause I bet there's a handy metaphor in their lexicon somewhere. Here: Imagine an apt sports metaphor for me, and I'll meet you in the next paragraph.
Anyway, so today he came home and said he'd decided to go because however bad the other kids would be, it wouldn't be as tedious as my constant harping on logic and reason, and the kids from his class would probably be enough fun to balance it out, and resisting it was taking the opportunity for fun out of it. He is smart, no?
In other news, we're reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" which is just a great book to begin with and is enhanced now because I'm really enjoying Squire's interpretations of it as we go. Understand: this is a child who has not lived in the States, so on the one hand he's reading it as a foreigner would: it describes a past world that is not the world he knows or even an ancestor of a daily world he knows. On the other hand, he goes to school with a bunch of Roma kids, so he does understand what racism looks like (and xenophobia too of course) and the amount of sense it makes and what it's like to batter your head against it. And then plus there's sentences that are so simple and delightful, and the secondary characters (especially Calpurnia and Miss Maudie, who I would like to have run my house and garden respectively)-- they're like snapshots of a person you know or you'd like to know better, and it's a pleasure to read a book like this, that makes my head hum.