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  • Viva Sarah Press

A surreal parent-teacher interview

“There’s a war,” my son’s teacher says, pointing to the sky as we hear Israel Air Force jets overhead.

We’re meeting outside in the shade, at a picnic table in the school’s courtyard for our parent-teacher interview.

It becomes a weird scenario as we are here to talk about my second-grader’s progress but we both know that while we’re safe and able to sit outside at a Tel Aviv school, elsewhere in Israel not all is quiet. A barrage of mortar shells hit Israel’s southern communities earlier in the day – including one shell landing near a kindergarten.

We look at my son’s math test.

A jet breaks the sound barrier and we hear the echo.

My son’s teacher reads to me from a list of comments other teachers have given her about my son.

We look at a language comprehension test. And we talk over sounds of more jets crisscrossing Israel’s tiny airspace.

“These are rich people’s problems,” we agree (though, if we lived in North America or Europe, these would just be regular school concerns and not rich people’s problems at all), when talking about how we can best keep my son interested in school. He’s above his grade level and finds the repetition in class unbearable.

I tell her about his creative excuses of why not to go to school on some days. We chuckle. She suggests I keep a record of them, noting the school librarian writes down all the excuses the kids give her as to why their book return is late.

We’re not immune to what’s happening just a few hours’ drive from Tel Aviv. But we’re also set on carrying on as usual.

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