Most of the days I spend in kindergarten are filled with laughter, wonder, curiosity, snacks, singing, dancing, playing, reading, writing, a great sense of satisfaction and then more laughter.
Today was not one of those days.
I’ve been teaching for 22 years, and I’ve learned many things. One of them is that by the time I have the kids trained to do incredible things, it’s the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. Then, I’m forced to begin all over again. It’s like I’m starring in Groundhog’s Day without the big lucrative salary.
I had a feeling that it might be a difficult day today when Frank was brought into the classroom (at 8:40) by a first grade teacher whose room is on the OTHER SIDE OF THE SCHOOL. She found him, surprisingly, doing handstands down the hallway. The OTHER hallway.
“Frank, were you doing handstands in the hallway?”
“Yep. Well, NO. Okay. Yep.” And then he proceeded to tell a long and involved story about something I don’t even remember because he talks ALL DAY LONG and sometimes I have to tune him out.
And suffice to say that was the best part of the day.
I spent the better part of the day re-directing three other friends as they broke most (okay, ALL) of our classroom rules. I found myself at my breaking point. And to be honest, I have a pretty high tolerance.
As the bell rang and the children flew out of school, I sat at my table with my head in my hands. Ms. Perky came to check on me, and as I recounted the events of the day I will not deny that a few tears were shed. And not by her.
It felt good to go through the events and the difficulties, I think because it helped me pinpoint who, what and where. And then I started planning.
I have learned another important thing in this journey of mine. I’ve learned that when the children are acting out; when they are breaking rules and interfering in their own learning and that of others, something must be done.
I’ve learned that if I can’t change or fix what the child is doing, then I must change what I am doing.
I have to change. I have to change what I am doing, so that they can be successful.
And so tonight I plan. Tonight I think, I brainstorm, I search for new activities and new ways to help these children, and I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. I remind myself that they all have incredible gifts, and I remember the many things I love about them.
And guess what? What happened today and what will happen tomorrow and the days that follow? THAT is where I am earning my keep. That is what you all are paying me for.
I accept the challenge. (Just pass me an Advil and a cocktail first, would ya????)