Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yesterday I took a kindergarten job.  I don't know why I do it.  I guess it's like a challenge, and also the teacher likes me and asked me specifically to do it, so I took the job.  I'm a sucker.  Those kids are SO CUTE, but teaching kindergarten is like simultaneously managing a room full of cats and putting out fires - all day long.  Occasionally I have to take the cats out of the room to the library, or the lunchroom and that is a total fiasco.  Getting the cats to put on all their winter clothes to go home is another fiasco.  Cats don't care if the bus is going to be there in 5 minutes.  Cats don't care about anything but what they want to care about, and you can be sure it's nothing you want them to care about.

My class
We got through most of the day with no major problems.  We had reading centers and did a pretty intense math activity.  That took the whole morning with me running around helping, solving problems, picking stuff up off the floor, resolving conflicts, tying shoes, buttoning pants, listening to tattles, etc. etc.  I was, for every second, either being talked to or talking.  I didn't have one minute to sit, go to the bathroom, or take a drink of water.  I don't know how kindergarten teachers do it day in and day out.  It is exhausting. 

Finally it was lunch time.  I gave them 15 minutes to get ready with all their winter clothes for recess afterward.  Some kids were ready in one minute, some kids still hadn't even put their snowpants on when it was time to leave.  So I brought the first wave down and then came back to get the second wave.  When I finally got back to the room to eat my own lunch, a parent came in with a kid that wasn't there in the morning.  I told him the kids were down at the cafeteria for lunch, thinking he could bring his kid down there himself.  He stared at me.  The kid stared at me.  I said, "Joseph, put your stuff on for recess and go to lunch."  The dad said, "He has to wear all his stuff just to go to lunch?"  Yes, Mr. Underminer, because if he doesn't put his boots and snowpants on now, he will totally miss recess because of how long it takes a five year old to put their boots and snowpants on, not to mention the fact that if he isn't wearing everything he needs, he will lose half of it on the short walk to the cafeteria.  I didn't say all that.  I just said, "Yes."  Then he stood there while his kid sloooooowwwwwly put on his stuff and griped about why the kids have to go to lunch wearing all their stuff.  He finally left and I had about ten minutes to myself where someone wasn't poking me or crying about something.

Then I went to get them.  There must have been a bee on the playground because every single kid told me there was a bee on the playground.  Then one kid said he got stung by the bee.  I asked where and he didn't have an answer.  Another kid heard the first kid say he got stung so he said he also got stung.  Then everyone was saying they got stung. They lie.

The afternoon was much less intense than the morning; they had library, which left me with a merciful 25 minutes to pick up the room and get ready for them to come back, and then when they came back it was story time (my favorite), and then free play time.  During free play time a group of them wanted me to read stories to them.  They LIKE me!  They made me sit on the carpet and then they piled around me like a bunch of puppies and listened to me read.  It was pretty sweet, but while I was doing that, there was another group of kids who silently FILLED the water table to the tippy top. They did it by filling and re-filling a four-cup measuring cup.  I bet there was fifty gallons of water in that table, and the kids were soaked and the floor all around was soaked.  I made the water-table people help me clean up the mess they made, which had the exact results as it would if you told a bunch of cats to help you clean up a mess.  It was more work getting them to grab paper towels and soak up the water on the floor than it would have been to just do it myself, but we finally did it.

Then the sub notes said to gather on the carpet and talk about our day.  "Hey cats, I want all of you to sit in the same general area at a specific point in time!"  It eventually happened, but I had to chase and cajole and plead with five or six of them to go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, can't you see everyone else on the rug?  go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug.  Let's go to the rug!  Wouldn't going to the rug be fun?  go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, you don't need to check your backpack for your toy shark right now, go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, you can get your water bottle after you go to the rug, go to the rug, go to the rug, don't worry that your shoe is untied for the 800th time right now, just go to the rug, go to the rug, yes, it's very intersting that you have scabs on your leg that vaguely form the letter Y but right now go to the rug, go to the rug, no, I didn't know your teacher usually says "carpet," does it matter? oh, it does? okay, go to the carpet.

go to the rug
Finally, time to go home.  This brilliant teacher has set things up so a bunch of fifth graders come and are assigned to certain kindergarteners, and they help them get ready, gather their things, and then walk them to their bus.  I was so grateful to see those fifth graders that I could have cried.

Today I'm subbing for a woman who teaches AP social studies.  I have not had to tie any shoes or button any pants (so far).  Nobody has tattled and I don't expect to hear any tattles.  If they miss the bus, I won't even know about it, much less be responsible for it.  Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

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