Monday, September 8, 2008

Off to a Good Start

Two weeks of school gone; only 37 more to go. Not that my son’s counting or anything. But when his favorite subjects are recess and P.E., and P.E. is only taught once a week, the days get kind of long.

Personally, I’m glad the first two weeks are over. Those are usually the most stressful for me and Kim (the mom of my son’s best friend), because that’s when we make the rounds giving food allergy presentations in school. First, we meet with our boys’ teachers to tell them about their allergies and talk to them about classroom strategies, such as keeping their lunch boxes separate from all the other kids’, identifying a location for their medicine, and so on.

Next, our principal invites us to give a presentation at her staff meeting, so we can tell ALL the teachers about food allergies. Because we give this talk every year, some of the teachers have heard it so many times they joke that they could give the talk themselves. But none of them take me up on my offer to trade places! And they admit the refresher is helpful. Other teachers are new to our school – and some are new to the United States – so the presentation is even more valuable for them. This year, our school has a nursing consultant (a parent volunteer who has officially signed on with our school to be our health official), so she helped with our presentation this year, which was very reassuring.

Finally, Kim and I gave one more presentation – this one to the lunch room staff, several of whom are new this year.

Because Kim and I have done these presentations every year, we no longer have to screw up our courage to go plead to get on their agendas. At this point, it’s an accepted and assumed notion that we’ll be doing these presentations, so the principal and the lunchroom manager actually came to us and asked us when we could come do our presentations.

That’s a great feeling. It shows us that food allergy awareness and precautions are important in our school. It doesn’t mean we never have food issues at school. We do, frequently. But there are precedents, rules, and guidelines, and when a problem comes up, we have those to rely on and to help resolve those issues. We’re not re-inventing the wheel every time a question arises, and we’re not fighting as much of an uphill battle.

So the school year is off to a good start, and the teachers and lunchroom staff are as prepared as we can help them be.

Now, if we can just get through the next 37 weeks...

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