I am not only a parent ambassador at TanenbaumCHAT, but I am also the proud mother of three current TCK students. Three years ago I sat in the cafeteria of TCK on curriculum night feeling a bit out of sorts. I walked into the school not knowing what to expect, knowing only one other family, feeling lost in what seemed like a big school, feeling a bit overwhelmed about what to expect from high school and wondering if the decision to send our son to TCK was indeed the right one.
My husband and I both attended public school (and seemed to end up as well adjusted successful adults), and our three children attended public school. So why TanenbaumCHAT? Three years later, and watching our youngest start Grade 9 as our oldest is in his graduating year, we can easily answer that question. We can also admit that it was probably one of the single best decisions we have ever made for our children.
That first curriculum night, we had a small taste of what our children are fortunate to be able to experience each school day. We saw first hand the enthusiasm and inspiration that the teachers and staff bring to the school. We witnessed in seven minutes how engaging and passionate the teachers at TCK are. My husband and I walked out of the school smiling with the knowledge that this was the right place for our son, and our family. We quickly felt a sense of relief and a sense of belonging.
For our children though, the journey to feeling that same sense of relief and belonging may take longer for some. Although there are some students who, after the first couple days of school, come home feeling just as inspired and excited about their new school as we did after curriculum night, there are others whose first few weeks and months of grade 9 can bring about uncertainty. They find themselves doubting their ability to succeed in this highly academic school, feel insecure about their ability to socialize and meet new friends, feel lonely at times and may even be wondering if perhaps this is not the right place for them. As parents, these emotions that keep our children awake at night can cause even more angst for us.
My husband and I have been there. Let me try for a moment to assure those of you in the latter group. With the passing of time, and especially with involvement in the school through arts, music, sport teams, student council clubs and committees your child will find their way, and will realize that TanenbaumCHAT is a where they want to be. They will start to appreciate that TanenbaumCHAT offers an exceptional level of academic excellence, with an extraordinary team of teachers and staff who helps them to see their own potential, and whose desire for each student to succeed is beyond what is imaginable and is clearly evident in all that they do for our students. Perhaps even more important, and what separates this school from many others, is the emphasis that is put on building resilience, building character, developing self confidence and an understanding of who they are and what they can give to the community and world around them.
Within the next number of weeks, the incoming students will start to see themselves as part of the TanenbaumCHAT family and then there is no looking back.
For those parents who are feeling as we did three years ago, my advice is to stay involved. Spend time navigating through EDSBY, volunteer for events like Grandparent Day (which is truly a special program unique to TanenbaumCHAT), or become a parent ambassador. Before long, you will be speaking about this special place with the same passion and enthusiasm that we are. You too will realize the positive impact that this school has had on your children during one of the most challenging times of their lives.