Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another in-between season

I teach kindergarten. I can't remember if I've ever mentioned this before. If I have, I'm sure I also mentioned that it's a whole different world for me. I majored in secondary education and English and so while I typically lean toward literature and poetry (like you didn't know), my most-utilized, most foundational skill is my creativity. If I was not a creative person, the last 4 months would not have been pretty.

But they were. Pretty, that is. Well, they weren't just pretty. They were educational--for me, and for the kids. They were wonderful. Every Monday and Tuesday that I got to teach those little people I felt a whole new sense of vibrancy and color blooming out of me, and out of them. I spent countless hours rifling through Pinterest and coming up with new ideas because it was that exhilaration to teach 4 and 5-year-olds.

I quickly learned how to avoid tantrums, and those crocodile tears. It's not like I haven't made students cry before--I made at least one middle school student cry while I was student teaching, because she was talking during a test. I scared her so badly she burst into panicked tears and ran to the bathroom. I didn't even yell--all I did was say her first and last name and stand at the front of the classroom with my hands on my hips.

But kindergartners cry for reasons far less "terrifying." No, you may not have more stickers than the other kids. No, you may not have purple construction paper because we are all using blue for this project. If you put that pencil in your mouth one more time, you will be in a time out. If you push Susie out of the way one more time, you will be in a time out. If you say "banana" one more time, you will be in a time out.

I also learned how to repeat myself. I also learned how to repeat myself. I can't tell you how many times per day I said, "Sit on your bottom!" because the chairs (suited for college students) have wheels and more than one kiddo fell and bumped their head.

I had to take a fast-track math session for myself. I am not mathematical individual. Even though they were 4 and 5, it still took a little motivation for me to teach math. There were times when "Eye of the Tiger" played in my head on math days, simply because it went off without a hitch, and the kids were happily adding up ladybug legs or the points on a star.

My favorite sessions were during art and music week, the last week of every month. Not every a/m week was fantastic, but every project was thought of with good intentions. And the kids had a great time, even if their rainmakers were more like exploding maracas.

That season of my life is over, until September. For now I will say goodbye to the magic in a child's face when they watch watercolor paints being mixed for the first time. I will say goodbye to the squeals of delight when they discover that the dot-to-dot picture is of a fairy. I will say goodbye to the repeated phrases of, "Sit on your bottom" and "It's okay, you can share" and "Please stop eating your eraser." I will say goodbye to happy giggles when someone wins the game, and dejected blubbers when someone loses. I will say goodbye to tiny picture graphs and measuring with pebbles and making cereal box guitars.

And I will spent all summer planning for next year, just so I can say hello all over again. This is what my life looked like:

And now it looks like this:

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