It’s been quite a while since I went poking around in the stack of paperwork and whatnot from my elementary school days (a document trove even larger than my pile of rejection letters), so I thought that this week I would go fishing in there and see what I came up with. And lo! I found an ancient mimeograph of the ancient Rules for First Grade from many years ago. It’s not quite as old as the Code of Hammurabi, but on the other hand, it’s not as well preserved. Let’s have a look!
A few notes on some of these 17 items:
- #4: I’m not sure you can safely say that “playtime will be outdoors nearly every day for 20 minutes” in upstate New York, given its tendency to snow on you in winter and rain on you all other times of year, but still! Who doesn’t like some outdoor playtime?
- #5: I’m guessing that these days, sending candy or cookies to school for your kid’s birthday is frowned upon for various food allergy, gluten intolerance, or just plain sugar-is-evil reasons. Also: No cupcakes?!?!?!?!
- #6: I don’t really remember any Christmas parties at school. I vaguely remember having to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with literally everyone in the class, though, and I definitely remember wearing costumes for Halloween. (Anyone shocked that Halloween is the holiday I remember best? Anyone? Bueller?)
- #9: I was always a walker, as we lived within whatever the maximum walking distance was to both the elementary school and the high school. I can verify that it was uphill. Both ways. Also, when walking to elementary school, we often used to cut through a pasture that housed a gigantic horse named Thunder. I was afraid of Thunder, because he always approached us when he saw us and I was sure he was coming over to run us out of his grazing area. Many years later, I took my wife back to the pasture to meet Thunder*, at which point I discovered that Thunder was in fact more or less a pony-sized horse who didn’t even come up to my shoulders, and when he approached you it was because he was hoping you might give him a sugar cube or an apple. 🤷♂️
- #12: Apparently Friday was the official Day of Stapling. Umm, all right.
- #14: Gym! Music! Art! Are these classes still a thing in elementary school? Also: Movies! “Paddles to the Sea”, anyone?
- #16: Boy oh boy does red marker stay vividly readable longer than mimeograph ink. I bet that’s what they use in your permanent record.
* We got a pretty early start on the whole being married thing, so Thunder was still alive at that point.