Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A New Teacher

Annika started first grade with a wonderful and friendly teacher. A first-grade teacher is supposed to stay with the class all the way through the third grade - three years - so you hope you get a good one - and we did.

However, this is Sweden, and all babies come with 450 days of leave, split between the parents. Annika's teacher hadn't used all her days for her child, so now, 2 2/3 years into the 3-year plan, she has decided to use 90 of her remaining days of parental leave. So no teacher from the 9th of February through the 9th of May. Three months of a substitute. Great.

But somehow, the school has found an outstanding solution - a teacher who's last position was as principal of a junior high, with more than 30 years of teaching experience. Why she was available to take a temporary job was somewhat worrying, as was the sales pitch the school offered - strongly pushed to both parents and children.

We are now four days into the new regime, and the results are outstanding. I thought the children would be upset, and even tearful, at the loss of their beloved teacher for three months. But they are really appreciating the change. She's tough - no more "one more chance" - but fair, according to Annika. And best of all, she lets them work as much as they want. As Annika points out, she "sees that we are different". Cool.

Annika had a friend over to play on Tuesday, and they had big plans. All the way home, they discussed which Wii games they would play - Sports or Singing Star first - and when they would go on WebKinz on the computer. But they disappeared up in Annika's room almost immediately, and stayed there the whole time. I listened at the stairs and heard a lot of giggling and laughing... but when I went up to see what was so funny, I found them in hysterics... over their math books. Together they accomplished 10 pages, and were excited (!) about starting division.

Maybe a change is a good thing...

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