Almost April…remembering the curl in the baggie!


I am thanking my lucky stars that we finally are making it close to April! On about September 8, I started thinking that I might not last through the rest of the week. This might be quite ridiculous, since I have been working on this teaching career for 18 years… all in Title I public schools. Some of these children have little direction at home and are just downright hungry. I am not talking about a hunger for learning. Some of these children DO  have discipline and direction at home, but the poverty is serious. My heart cries for them. The first few weeks of school were a bit tougher this year and I was a bit tougher this year. How can I really teach them if they have no idea how to control themselves? To me, tough means following through on classroom rules. It means being fair. It means caring for them even in the midst of disastrous behavior.

Disastrous behavior in Kindergarten might mean cutting a little classmate’s beautiful curl at the end of her pony tail. You might ask…”Where was the teacher during this haircut episode?”. She was right there at the front of the line of children…getting everyone quiet for the “going to the cafeteria without the talking and skipping escapade”. The teacher was so proud that the class was quiet and standing in a slightly and somewhat straight line. She perhaps was bragging too much about her ideal class. She only heard a giggle or three. Every pair of hands were behind their backs. Evidently, every pair of hands except one. That was the pair of hands with the red scissors. The red scissors belonged to the child who was the best cutter in the whole class that very morning. The scissors (in a strange leap) must have jumped into his pocket. As we turned the corner into the main hallway, the scream started and then the crying ensued. The pony tail girl was particularly sensitive to scissors on her hair. The crying was followed by the loud “I didn’t do it”…repeated at least 12 times. We were so late to lunch that the friendly cafeteria ladies must have put my name on the imagined problematic teacher list. I picked up the curl from the floor and placed it in  a baggie for the evidence. We never lined up in a long single line again. Not even now that it is almost April.

Yes, I have one line of boys on the left and one line of girls on the right. I really don’t even want them to look at each other. They will tell me if anyone even acts like they are touching the child in front of them. Being late to lunch was such a sad circumstance…not to mention the screaming and crying. I may have been somewhat dramatic about the curl in the baggie. That was nothing compared to the dramatic behavior of the pony tail girl’s mother when she saw the baggie. I understood. I would have thrown a gigantic fit if that had happened to my own daughter when she was five years old. Nevertheless, no scissors have touched another child thus far during the school year. I was told that the red scissors were “bad” by the hair-cutting small person. They were exchanged for blue scissors that had a better reputation.

My eyes are opened wider now when the scissors are out. My eyes are opened wider all the time. Even a teacher with experience can have a new experience! The 18th year of teaching was the year that the scissors made a poor decision. I still have the curl in the baggie. It is in a basket on my desk. Just a reminder about Kindergarten possibilities. Just a reminder to keep caring for the children despite their mistakes!







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