Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Shadow Knows

This morning was George the Younger's first "shadow visit" as part of High-School-Search-2010.

For the uninformed (or those lucky enough not to have to perform the drill of the high school search), most of the schools here in SF, both private and public, have days when perspective students come to hang out for a while and "shadow" a current student at that school. These visits are not mandatory, but given the wide variety of schools, it makes sense to give your kids a chance to take a look around and get to experience what the school is all about from the adolescent point of view.

We are casting a nice wide net regarding the kinds of schools that we are considering. Parochial, hippie-dippy-alternative, preppy and public charter are all on the list in some form or another. George the Elder and I already have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for for George The Younger. We are hoping that he will fall in to line and we will agree on the "right place." We are also prepared for the you-got-a-lot-of-opinions-mr-got-no-job-got-no-prospects conversation should he be unable to see the light.

Although, if this morning is any indication, I am coming to believe that he's a better judge of himself than we have been giving him credit for. See, George The Younger would not be considered as a man of deep introspection. At least in any obvious ways that we could see. During our recent HS Hunt Parent Meetings the guidance counselor asked parents what some of the things their kids were "reflecting" upon at home as it came to the search for schools. I couldn't add much there. George the Younger's deepest reflection, as far as I knew, was that he just needed to know if they had a good baseball team and did they have a decent school lunch.

But this morning after his visit he seemed to understand the things that would work for him at that school and the things that wouldn't. It wasn't as if he was purposefully making a pro/con list - and much of it came out just in what he saw and the adjectives he used to describe them - but he definitely knew himself and what he wanted. Shocked the shit out of me frankly. Could it be that my single syllable boy is maturing? Could he be a still-waters-run-deep kind of man?

Today's school was BIG. Big in the kind of way that none of my kids have attended. It was amazingly appointed - sports fields to die for, a pool, weight rooms, two theaters, and the whole building was clean clean clean. Almost a kind of stepford clean - weird? It wasn't as big as the HS I attended myself lo those many years ago - but I've acclimated to the smaller learning institutions - and it seemed so vast and busy and so, well so, High School. George The Younger's first thing he said when I saw him? "Do you know how many English courses there are for 9th graders???? EIGHT!!!" So he felt the big of it too. I don't think he could imagine himself finding his way. I know that he would if it came down to it. But, it wasn't something he was enthusiastic about - as in - WOW, so many different things to do and people to meet and ways to get involved.

In the end, I think the Shadows are a good thing. He has many to go yet before we are done. There are also the open houses and parents visits and applications and decision trees. But, in the end - come March - my boy will know where he is going to HS. And, fingers crossed, he will know that that school is the right one for him.

1 comment:

2W3 said...

I remember being that age and looking a New England Boarding Schools. Each time you stepped on campus, you got the "vibe" immediately. I remember it was not so much knowing what I wanted, but clearly understanding what I did not what. Dad believed to the day he died that I shunned his alma mater, because Boston cream pie was on the menu at Avon, but I knew I would not be happy there.