Things To Prepare For

Yesterday I was the kindergarten teacher. Most of you are probably cooing in your heads about those cute little cherubs and singing songs and playing games. But if you know me, you know that I have great difficulty getting past the boogers smeared on each and every surface in the K-1 room, and really don't have much of an affinity for anything under 13 years old that isn't a puppy.

But today was good. It was much less germy than all of my worst nightmares, and  the kids were all remarkably well behaved. After surviving my first full day in the K-1 classroom, there are a few things that I wasn't entirely prepared for, emotionally mostly. So, out of the goodness of my heart, I thought I would share those things with you. Either to prepare you for your own K-1 experience, or just life in general, because everything you need to know, you can learn from a Kindergartner. Or that's what they say.

1) Just because they raise their hands, doesn't mean they have something to say. Be careful who you listen to.

2) The lead in a colored pencil is infinitely softer than the surrounding wood, and creates many tear-filled adventures around the pencil sharpener. Sometimes a gentler approach gets the job done more successfully. Or just use effing crayons.

3) Picking you nose and eating it never killed anybody. YET.

4) Growing bodies cannot be still for more than 15 seconds. Attempting longer term stillness could result in spontaneous combustion, violent seizure activity and/or vocal implosion. This is an ironic contrast to older people, who grow larger in proportion to their maintained stillness. One of life's many inverted relationships.

5) Stickers fix everything. (Tell me this isn't still true. I dare you! Dutch Bros has this one dialed in.)

6) If you put anything to music, you will never be able to get it out of your head. EVER.

7) Making kids stay in from recess for misbehavior is probably going to be more punishment for you than it is for them. This is practice for the teenage years, when anything you do to them inflicts cruel and unjust inconveniences on you, whether the kids learn anything or not. (I found a way around this as a substitute High School teacher the other day when I wrote my own dear daughter a yellow slip for her insolence [HA! TAKE THAT, SMART ONE! I CAN'T GROUND YOU BUT I CAN PUT YOU INTO DETENTION!!!!] Total win on my part. Sorry to the solutions lady at school...)

8) When all else fails, color. And don't be that one kid that will only use black. Because I mean, seriously.

9) Maybe the kinders can't read yet. But if you think about the fact that last year, the first graders couldn't read, and now they can actually tell the difference between the number 7 and a capital R, dude, they're working miracles in there. Be patient.

10) Every dirty little kid is a product of the people around him, for better or worse. Be the better.

It is my firm belief that every early elementary teacher should be nominated for sainthood or an insanity plea. The ones that work tirelessly for an entire career span are my personal heroes. Give me the blood and guts of EMS and the drama and intrigue High School or even unemployment and professional questionability, because I couldn't do it. But they do. Gracefully, endlessly. Day after day they shape our littles into the next workforce. The next generation. Our future. God bless 'em.

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