A few funny things today. Early last year Matan brought a friend home from school. The friend asked me if I had seen his “petek” and I had no idea what he was talking about. He looked at me as if I were crazy – everyone knows what a petek is. And now I know why. A petek is a note, and the teachers in the nursery schools in Israel LOVE peteks. They seem to send a note home in Yehuda’s lunch bag, or safety pinned to Yehuda’s shirt, at least twice a week.
To an oleh, these notes are a heart-stopper. They mean that we need to try to decipher what the teacher wants and fast…and make sure that our kid isn’t the only one without the requested item the next day. It’s a very stressful event. About 65% of the time I know what the petek is saying. About 20% of the time I ask someone to read it, including my 3rd grade creative writing student who is a native Israeli. Aah – the joys of being an immigrant. And then the rest of the time I just get tired or too sick of figuring things out, and ignore the darn note.
And then we have a day like today. Poor Yehuda. Yehuda kept telling me something about flowers. What was the kid talking about? He had brought home a note on Monday and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure it out. There were no familiar words – nothing to catch my attention. So, I threw it aside and figured I’d get it read at some point. So, yesterday, Yehuda declared that he had to have those flowers already. Yeah yea. So, we asked the landlord if we could cut a couple of pretty flowers and sent him on his way. Oy – did we look dumb. He got to school and they wondered why he had these beautiful flowers. And then we realized what the petek had said.
Apparently, they had requested that each family go to the neighborhood nursery and pick out five durable flowers. They had tires filled with potting soil in the front of the school and each kid was going to get a tire, plant his flowers in it, and learn how to take care of a little garden (and apparently we had been asked to bring in tires during back to school night….hmmm…didn’t catch that one!) So, here Yehuda was holding three cut flowers from the garden instead of the actual flowers he was supposed to buy.
As you can guess, today we took Yehuda immediately to the nursery to pick out his flowers. When I walked in, the woman working there looked at us and said, “Here for the gan? Yehuda won’t be the only one without flowers!
Another tidbit – to kill time in the crazy, insane, rambunctious fifth grade class today I had the kids do a fun magic trick of sorts with their birthdays. They have to write down the month of their birthday and then add and subtract a bunch of days to come up with the month and day of their birthday. As I started the activity, it never dawned on me that some of the kids wouldn’t know their English birthdays! Everyone celebrates Hebrew calendar birthdays here, and a number of the kids didn’t even know what their English birthday was….and there went my little activity! Things you don’t think of when planning a lesson with native English speakers! It was really funny and eye-opening for me. And now I know even more why we are making sure to celebrate our kids’ Hebrew birthdays and not their English ones…all in a day’s education. Mine, not my students’.