Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Kindergarten Teacher, I Am NOT

I do consider myself a bit of an old mother hen, when it comes to teaching.  But there is one phase of chick-rearing that really evades me.  Its when they are still wet behind the ears, and a bit of shell is still sticking to them -- you know what I'm referring to -- Kindergarten!

They are cute.  So are baby tarantulas, I'm told.

I had the pleasure of teaching a group of wee ones a few weeks back.  They don't call me often for the little tykes, but someone must have overlooked the fact that I have a propensity for damaging developing psyches in four years olds -- or is it the other way around -- not sure, I'll get back to you on that one.

So I forge bravely into the unsuspecting classroom, lesson plans firmly in hand, ready to greet the day.

First rule of Kindergarten -- toss the lesson plan, it is only a guideline, well perhaps more like a beacon on a distant shore.  It's something to strive for, but it is highly unlikely you will ever dock your birch-bark canoe anywhere near its safe harbour.

They are really not socialized yet.  They don't sit at their desks, quietly and wait for you to complete attendance -- well that applies to most classes, come to think of it.  
Three of them are seated, hair braided to perfection, shoes colour-coordinated with their dresses, beaming cherubicly up at me.  Well the one isn't exactly beaming, those are real tears -- she's scared because the supply teacher is a MAN!  

Tommy and Billy are off in the corner pretending that the calendar pointer stick is a gun (do I have to write a report at the end of the day about the use of weapons in the class?)  

Kassideigh (do these parents think before they name their children -- I mean really!) is wailing at the coat rack, because she can't get her coat undone (the being who invents self-locking and unlocking zippers will have world domination).  

Cheivbhae (try to pronounce that one correctly {Keeva - just in case you ever get this class}) is wringing her hands because only one of her indoor shoes is in the bin -- who was the idiot who thought throwing all the indoor shoes in a bin at the end of the day would gurarantee success the following morning?  

"Can I go to the bathroom?"  "I can't get my backpack off."  "Matthew pushed me."  "I need a drink."  Tap, tap on my arm.  "Matthew pushed me again."  "There's someone in the bathroom, I really need to go."  Tap, tap.  "Matthew is still pushing me."

ARGGGHH -- and I see by the clock it is now 9:01!  Only six hours and twenty-nine short minutes to go.

So Kindergartens are not really allowed to be registered as such, until they are 'toileted'.  What an interesting concept and what exactly does 'toileted' mean?  I think if you asked an administrator, they would have a nice concise definition that would indicate that the child is capable of handling the majority of bodily functions somewhat independently.  All sounds very clinical and antiseptic of course - absolutely fool-proof ....on paper.

So little Jamie is now standing in a mysterious puddle on the carpet (don't worry it will momentarily sink in).  Four children are running to tell me that Jamie just peed.


First order of business, get Jamie out of said puddle, before he starts to splash.  Second get Jamie to the bathroom - oh wait it's still busy.  Some happy little pooper has taken up full-time residence, with an option to purchase.

Send Jamie and friend (suddenly nobody wants to share or be friends) to nearest big boy's bathroom to do something -- what I'm not sure, as the 'something' has obviously already been done.  At least I'll have time to sop up the spreading yellow stain.  Oh wait, the paper towel dispenser was on the custodian's list but he forgot to refill last night.  Good, there are some old rags over by the painting easels.  They'll do.  Should I leave them in the sink, leave a note for the teacher, or just let it be a welcome-back gift?

Okay, attendance is done, floor somewhat cleaned and barricaded off, on to the next item on the list.

"Mr H., Jamie hasn't got no clothes on."

".............You're quite right."  Talk about Free Willy -- there for all the world to see!

Dash over to Jamie's cubby.  Most K's have a change of clothing, stuffed into their cubbies, in case of emergencies (I thought that was something like falling in a mud puddle or some innocuous matter,  of that nature -- silly me). Jamie's cubby is as empty as Pandora's box, the next day.

Call the office. "Is there a change of clothing available for Jamie anywhere?"  

"Did you check his cubby?"

"No I just thought I'd make a social call."  Of course that was not a verbal utterance, just a vicious retort swirling in my mind.  Okay, so I've got no help from above or below, twenty kids are perched on the edge of the carpet -- all pointing and 'ew'ing at the offending stain.  Well, everybody except little Eva, who is busy examining Jamie's manhood, and about to poke it with her accusing index finger.  She has definitely budding pediatrician potential stamped all over her inquisitive face.

Something needs to be done and done quickly.  A tiny angel of mercy offers, "Jamie can wear my pants."

"Bless you Victoria."  Your parents named you after the beloved queen for good reason.  Well maybe, maybe not.  Above-mentioned pants are actually pink tights.  At this point, do I really care about masculinity and potentially damaging situations.  No, that is why the psychiatric profession is so profitable.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener

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