Today is Adam’s first day at school, or the “big kids’ school” as he refers to it.
As I write this, Adam’s probably learning new stuff, making new friends -or enemies- eating his lunch, or peaking at someone else’s lunch with envy -or disgust- but most importantly he’s experiencing being a 1st grader in a whole new school with a new teacher (whom I’m hoping he’d love) surrounded with new faces.
Dropping him off I couldn’t help comparing 1st grade students here in Canada, with those back in the Arab world. Back there 1st graders usually look so helpless, so lost, so innocent, so naive, so incredibly young and tiny; here, on the other hand, 1st graders have a very unique mixture of innocence and maturity. They’re like tiny little rebels who still seek your attention, they still want your pampering, they still want your hugs and kisses, but they want to act all independent at the same time. They don’t want you to hold their hands, they don’t want you to unzip their raincoats, they don’t want you to hold their umbrellas, they don’t want you to keep giving them tips and reminders of good behavior, they just want to go through this lovely growing-up-process independently. And with the exception of a couple little ones crying here and there, you’d be really impressed at how excited kids actually are to start their school year in Canada. Unlike half the way around the world where I still remember how hard the 1st day of school was, in fact some students got so anxious and tensed they threw up… I believe the reason is the approach of education and the learning process. While teachers in Canada try to make kids get attached to school, love learning, encouraging them to be creative and have fun with learning, Arab kids always face the discomfort resulting from the pressure of learning by heart, memorizing, the tons of homework, the heavy backpacks, and the limitation of creativity. In short, I believe, in my own personal opinion, that kids here pass from one grade to the other to gain more knowledge, their goal is to learn and know, whereas in the Arab world, I believe they gain knowledge just to pass, and that’s of course generally speaking, and does not mean that kids here are smarter, I’m just saying that the approach of education here is more appealing to kids that they enjoy learning, look forward to open a book and it’s up to them to be good or bad at it without the pressure of exams, unlike in the Arab world, where the whole process is more stressful for both kids and their parents.
In the end of the day, whether here or there, I have come to one conclusion: the older they (children) get, the more you worry; I’ve been told this over and over, but it was only today that it really hit me how true that is.
I wish all students, no matter where on this planet, no matter what grade they’re in, an awesome school year.