Kindergarten...Oh, Sweet Kindergarten @ 26 Feb 2015
I joke that it’s like I've gone through school twice in my life. As a student, I obviously started in kindergarten through to 12th grade and beyond, but as a teacher I have also taught kindergarten up through 12th grade! I started in 3rd grade, moved to kindergarten for a year, quickly went back to 3rd, then 5th, then 10th grade English and now 12th grade English. You may be noticing a pattern of upward movement here and that is not accidental. I happen to be one of those people who felt more and more at home the higher the grade level got, but I can certainly say I loved a little something about each of those levels along the way. My son is in kindergarten this year and visiting his classroom makes my kindergarten teaching days come flooding back to me.
Kindergarten…oh, sweet kindergarten. When you don’t teach kindergarten, you can watch a line of cutie pie 5 year olds walking down the hallway and you can’t help but smile at the amount of cuteness before you. The untied laces or shoes on the wrong feet, the character lunch boxes, their pint-size statures are all so sweet and innocent to behold. But visit their teacher at the end of the day after he or she just performed a 6 hour medley of 15 minute spurts of activity in an attempt to maintain the attention span of said cutie pies and you will understand what a challenge teaching kindergarten is. Kindergarten teachers go home with inexplicable hand prints in places they shouldn't have been touched having tied 65 shoe laces, buttoned 42 pant buttons, mediated 87 tattle-fests and heard their name called (and/or mispronounced) 328 times since 8am. Kindergarten teachers are champions of redirecting their wayward little learners countless times without losing their cool; even little Sally who, when asked to “tell me one thing you learned about butterflies from the story” responds with, “You have pretty hair” because that’s what she was focused on during circle time. Kindergarten teachers have impenetrable immune systems and are un-phased by holding that tiny yet dirty hand of the kid with the runny nose, and 10 gallon bladders from years of not having a say-so in when they can go potty themselves. Kindergarten teachers are master story-tellers, can cut out laminated shapes like it’s nobody’s business and somehow, in the midst of all the insanity and activity in their room, cultivate a room full of little sponges who make more academic gains in those 10 months than what seems humanly possible.
I don’t know that I would ever teach that level again, but I do have some fond memories of my days teaching kindergarten. I didn't mind being called mom out of both familiarity and confusion from having spent more waking hours with me than their real moms. I didn't mind the little Johnnies in the room who felt compelled to come and hug me repeatedly throughout the day. I didn't mind having to invent clean-up songs or cadence chants to get them to form a straight and quiet line for hallway-walking. I grew accustomed to just how much they needed me throughout the day and there was certainly more than one child I wished I could just take home with me rather than send them home to their actual living environment. I certainly honed my shoe-tying skills and was able to cut with safety scissors while sitting in a miniature chair like the best of them. Kindergarten is a world of its own and kindergarten teachers are silent superheroes in my book.
Are you a kindergarten superhero or do you have similarly fond memories? Please share in the comments below!
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