My first post on WordPress…March 20, 2016
Laughter on the first day of Kindergarten is my greatest joy and my most necessary joy. Among the inevitable tears of the children and the inevitable tears of the parents, I look for that beginning five year old smile to emerge ever so slightly. I know that the tears will subside in a short amount of time.
For some children, a short amount of time may be four minutes after the parents walk out the front door of the school. For others, a short amount of time may be a week away. Oh well…I can deal with a few tears. After all, I know what fun times are ahead for my class. This is just the first day, isn’t it?
Hey, wait a minute! I’m in charge of this group of little children? I’ve been teaching for 18 years in public schools and the first day is always a surprise. During the week of teacher preparation, I am so busy catching up with the other teachers. I have to hear about the vacations, the non-vacations, the houses that are for sale, the clothes that have been bought, the pregnancies, the gossip (no, no…that is just not professional at all), the teaching ideas, and who has the most comfortable new shoes.
Trust me, shoes are important for a teacher. Sometimes, I bring three extra pair in a Target bag. People just think that I am so generous to bring extra crayons and scissors from Target. They never look inside my bag. And I don’t look inside their Target bags. They probably have socks too. One time last year, I found a pair of my socks in my lunchbox. That is a story for another day. Really, that was a terrible day. No lunch.
As the first day draws closer and I realize that I don’t want a terrible first day, I stop the talking. I don’t know how I ever manage, but my classroom comes together before the janitors leave…late on Friday evening before the first day of school on Monday. Some people work better under pressure. I will spend the next nine months reminding myself that some children are the same way! And those children want an outstanding looking room and they certainly deserve a wonderful, organized room.
Most of all, they deserve an organized and happy teacher. I want the best for them on this first day of their journey to high school graduation and college graduation. I must remember to tell them about college. It is never too early to talk about important goals. I must remember to tell them about fairness and kindness. I must remember to tell them about eating the vegetables at lunch and not just the “hot” chips. I must remember to tell them to listen and to focus. I must remember that they might not have ever heard the word “focus”!
I must remember to tell them to sit up straight and be proud. I must remember to read a great book to them every, single day. Actually, I must remember to read two or three books a day to them. I must remember to tell them that rolling on the floor during circle time is something that might make me unhappy. I must remember to tell them that we have special rules. I must remember to let them help write the rules.
And the list could go on for pages. Most of all…I need to remember to tell them about letters and sounds and words and numbers and shapes. More than that…I need to sing a silly song, tell a funny story, dance a crazy dance, talk softly when I can and talk a little bit louder at some moments. I must remember to talk in a kind voice. I want them to be kind, don’t I? I must remember to let them march to the beat of a different drummer. I must remember to let them be individual and precious five year olds.
And so…school starts again. A new class awaits. As they sit in circle…some are excited…some are fearful…some are a bit homesick. I know that I will be challenged in every way possible. I know that I went to school a lot of years to become a teacher. This is my second career. Teaching five year olds is an honor that I truly and honestly appreciate. Parents…thank you for sharing your children with me. I promise to take care of them!