Classroom Placement: Part III – Full Circle

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Categories Balance, Classroom Placement, Identical, Other people, Parenting Twins, Relationships, School-AgeTags , , , , , , ,

This afternoon, I received an email from my daughters’ school informing me that a spot had been secured in Mrs. G’s 1st grade classroom for our daughter M. She starts Monday.

Mrs. G is a great teacher, and a warm and lovely person. I once ran into her at the grocery store and we chatted for an hour. I’ve met her granddaughter, a sweet, well-behaved little girl. In the classroom, Mrs. G is loving but firm, supportive but demanding. Still, my head began to pound as I tried to think through the repercussions of this placement.

Our daughter J, you see, is already in Mrs. G’s class. At the recommendation of J’s kindergarten teacher, and following much agonizing soul-searching, we decided to allow her to skip 75% of kindergarten and 25% of 1st grade to join Mrs. G’s class midstream. M stayed in kindergarten for a further 9 weeks, which brings us to today.

Having M skip to 1st grade mid-year is a no-brainer. The academic work is no challenge for her, and her wonderful kindergarten teacher took the time to make sure that M is emotionally ready. M even spent some time in the 1st grade classroom before the holidays to confirm that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed. My husband and I have already talked through the consequences of J being a year younger than her peers, and having one fewer year in school. The same concerns apply to M. Weighing everything, we decided to let J move on up when her teacher recommended it, and we’re simply doing the same with M. That headache has, for the most part, dulled.

The source of today’s headache is that M and J will be in the same classroom. A lot of thought went into our choosing to exercise our right to have our daughters placed in different classrooms when they entered school. In a nutshell, we thought that the girls needed to establish themselves as individuals, both in their own perception and in that of their peers. Texas state law gives us the right to demand that our daughters be separated, but I recognize that the school has already gone to lengths to accomodate the girls’ learning styles, prior education and emotional maturity.

I may be worn out by the emotional drain of trying to make the right decisions for our daughters in uncharted territory. I certainly don’t have any desire to fight the school. My husband and I spoke briefly this evening, and agreed that the basic goals of splitting the girls into separate classes had been accomplished. They have separate friends. They know that they are liked as individuals, and not just as a set. They have learned to rely on friends for companionship, and to do so without Sissy to fall back on. J and M understand that they don’t have to do everything together.

There’s an entirely new set of concerns now. Mrs. G’s class is J’s territory. Will M be treated as her own person by the other kids, or will she simply be seen as J’s twin, the target of all the attention and assumptions about twins we were trying to avoid?

The girls are a little hesitant about the change. M doesn’t want to leave her kindergarten teacher, whom she loves dearly. J isn’t quite ready to share her spot as class cutie. She was a little miffed at her classmates’ excitement when M visited last month. She told me that she felt that the girls who told M she was cute were “M’s 1st grade girls.” They usually tell J that she is cute; she’s the class clown. She didn’t say that it had upset her, but I could read between the lines. Mrs. G told me that she had sat M next to another child during the school day, but recess and lunch are a different matter.

Mrs. G is someone we trust to teach our children, so it’s time for a leap of faith. We can always request the school to place M and J in different classrooms next year.

What do you think? Should I be asking the school to accomodate M and J’s placement in separate classrooms for the rest of the school year?

Sadia and her husband parent their 5-year-old daughters in El Paso, TX as full-time volunteers. They each have income-generating careers on the side, she in IT and he in the military.

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

7 thoughts on “Classroom Placement: Part III – Full Circle”

  1. I think you made the right choice. They’ve already moved around a lot. As you said, you can separate next yr, which I also agree is a good idea. Big kisses to both!

  2. I would say just let them finish out the school year in the same classroom and don’t “over-think” it. Its only a few months anyway, right? With a spring break factored in.
    This brings up the very interesting point about over-preparing kids for kindergarten and beyond. What is the point of the acceleration? Is there a benefit to being accelerated beyond one’s grade level? Does early graduation from elementary school present any real benefit socially or emotionally? I’m just curious about the motivation behind today’s trend of treating kindergarten as the “new first grade” and preschool being way more intense and advanced than in years past.
    I suppose because I went to school in the 1970’s I am having a hard time mentally adjusting to the modern academic expectations regarding pre-K and Kindergarten.
    My boys will start kindergarten in Fall 2012 and I already know I have not done enough to get them ready, although they attend Chesterbrook Academy preschool /daycare part time each week. Sigh.

  3. Is there even another first grade teacher you feel comfortable with? I might say go ahead and let them go in the same one this time, but have a good long discussion with them about next year?

    Miss ya in Austin!

  4. I also have twin girls who are in kindergarten. One is more academically advanced and articulate than the other- she is more outgoing also. I have chosen to keep them in the same class. They love being together and academically being challenged isn’t as important to me as them feeling secure and knowing that they have each other. I am choosing to take one year at a time and maybe in a later year I will need to separate them. For now there was only one kindergarten french immersion class at their school so that was our only option :) I think you should do what you think feels right- a mothers intuition is pretty helpful. You have obviously talked it over lots with your hubby, other teachers and the girls too. Personally, I would wait until the next year and finish off the school year with them together. Whats the rush to switch them mid year? I know for my girls that would be too much of a change. But, you can make the right choice- it is up to you. Kids are resilient so if they absolutely don’t like it you can always put them back in the same grade right? My girls are identical so I really don’t mind others calling them “the twins”. That is just how it is and I don’t let it get to me. I know their personalities are very different and their friends that have gotten to know them realize that too. I love that they are close and have each other for life. Twins are a blessing :) Good luck and I hope your girls adjust well. Thanks for sharing your decision and opening up the discussion.

  5. Thanks for the update. I am glad that they will both be in the same grade now. I think that had they stayed a year apart academically, it would have been difficult for them later on. I agree with advice already given about having them stay in the same class for K. It sounds like the teacher is wonderful, and really that is what is most important. There was just a relevant article in the NYT today describing a study of the improved long term effect a high quality teacher has in the early years.

  6. Okay, so I’m not a twin. Nor am I a mother of twins, but two of my 4 younger brothers are twins. The bottom two.

    Anyway, they just graduated from High School this past year. They have spent most of their 12 years in school in the same classrooms. Only in high school did their choices of subject vary from each other.

    I know my parents kept them in the same classroom in elementary school because they felt that it was more important to have the best teacher for that grade.

    My brothers have done most things together, but not all. They have very different personalities and interests. They do have mostly the same friends, but they like it that way. They do not always hang out with their friends at the same time. They know they don’t have to. Their friends have also know that they are two very different people.

    In high school, they have taken out and been asked out by completely different kinds of girls. It’s actually very interesting to see the personality choices they make.

    I don’t think you need to worry. You have a great teacher that you trust. And you’re lucky enough to have her teaching both of your kids. They are young enough that the stage of being jealous is just beginning to rage and will for a while, but will pass soon. We all went through it, even without being a twin. They will find their space together and separate. I think they will be just fine. You’re doing a great job.

  7. Wow! This is all very interesting. You and your husband are doing a fantastic job – making clear decisions after putting thought into the situation. I bet having a teacher you like, think is good, and trust is important. I think it’s great that they are back in the same grade and as you said, they have already developed their own friends and space in a sense, and also they could be in separate classes next year if you think the need arises. Keep us posted !

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