atara katz 248.88 .
(photo credit: Yaakov Katz)
I still remember Mrs. Keller. She was my first-grade Hebrew teacher who taught me, and the rest of the Arie Crown class of 1993, how to read write and pray in the Holy Tongue.
On Tuesday morning, my wife, Chaya, and I will drop off our eldest child, Atara, at a Jerusalem elementary school for her first day of first grade. Our expectations are naturally high - that she will learn, grow, mature and develop - but so are our trepidations.
In addition to not believing that I have a child old enough to go to school, mainly since I still remember my own experiences so clearly, my concerns range from whether my daughter will sit close enough to hear the teacher to how she will get on with her classmates. From whether she will understand what is being taught to whether she will like the sandwich I prepare for her in the morning, or preferably the night before.
These concerns, I am sure, are shared by the tens of thousands of parents who like me are sending a child into first grade today.
Besides the general thirst for knowledge that I hope first grade will bring my daughter, what I genuinely hope she gains in her elementary school experience is a sense of curiosity. Curiosity drove me to become a journalist and it keeps the world interesting.
Back in Chicago, first grade meant me riding on one of those big yellow school buses where the windows didn't slide down all the way. Here, you're lucky to get a car pool. As a first-grader, I was already oiling my baseball glove, signing up for Little League and trading baseball cards while playing catch during recess. Here, the kids knock around a soccer ball.
Overall, though, first grade seems to be the same everywhere, with little six-year-olds carrying backpacks bigger and heavier than themselves. They learn the same skills, although in different languages.
The changes to our family life are likely to be profound. This means making sure homework gets done, getting out of the house on time in the morning, preparing lunch bags and ferrying our daughter from one extracurricular after-school activity to the next.
Thank God for my wife and for Rosh Hashana break, which is only two weeks away.