I began my new job on Monday. Summer School Kindergarten teacher. Everyone I talk to about it is all “that’s horrible! Kindergartners? In summer school??” Even one of my administrators mentioned that sentiment and then proceeded to say, “So it’s YOUR job to make it fun.”
Well, of course it is!
I discovered on Get-Ready day that I was the lone staffer with no employee email therefore, I had missed receiving Several Important Attachments, passwords, Log-Ins, a name tag and such. Off to a great start.
However, I scrounged for what I needed, one of which was the Most Important Document…the class list.
I quickly discovered that I had two students whose names started with Zy—. One I thought may be pronounced a little like that short guy in the tree in the Bible whose house Jesus says he’s coming to today. The other one has what I thought to be an apostrophe after the Zy and before the rest of his name. When I pointed to the mark in his name after he wrote it himself I asked him.
“What is that thing called?”
He said, “A slash.”
Well alrighty then. Maybe this will be a new trend in names—keyboard strokes. You heard it here first.
Day One was as crazy as you would expect, despite the constant soothing intercom reminders to make sure you know how everyone’s getting home. Simultaneously meeting, corralling and assessing 15 young First Grade Hopefuls is no small task. There are about 20 teachers, 3 per grade level, and one Assistant in our school. One. Which is GREATER THAN the number of pencil sharpeners I can access in my room. Crayons it is!
Day Two had the added dimension of throw up. This particular girl was complaining as soon as she got there about her tummy-ache. Clearly motherhood has jaded me for the complaints of young children. When I taught Kindergarten before, I wasn’t yet a mom (yes, it was THAT long ago). Now I am of the “suck-it-up” mentality unless, as I tell my own kids, you have a fever or are spewing bodily fluids, you’re going to, AND STAYING AT school. This Sweetie came in a bit whiney–as is every other kid that would rather be sleeping or spending quality time with SpongeBob. I nodded sympathetically when she said her tummy hurt. I told her to move away from the air conditioner when she complained that she was cold. I pointed her towards the water fountain when she said she was thirsty. But she finally got my full attention when she ran over to me (and away from the bathroom) as I was giving a reading assessment to another student and said, “MYMOUTHFEELSFUNNYITHINKIMGONNATHROWUP” Well, at least now she wasn’t whining.
After the dramatic episode and my lame attempt to redirect the pint-sized rubber-neckers, one sweet over-helper student was brave/kind/disillusioned enough to be willing to walk Sick One 3.25 miles to the nurse’s office. When Helpful Smurf returned from her epic journey, she reported that Sick One had yet another event in the hallway before they reached their destination. Sucks to be her. Moving on.
During a fun language arts activity where students were supposed to discuss with a partner their favorite toys, one student refused to talk with the girl next to her saying “I don’t KNOW her” complete with head bobble & eye roll.
Uh, Sweet Pea? That’s how you GET to know her. You make friends in our class.
“I GOT friends.”
This is the conversation that prompted me to survey the other teachers for their 2011 discipline plan. Because Toto? We’re not in 1991 any more.
Day Three: While Mission: Discipline Plan is going into effect, the computer specialist is discovering that my classroom computers need to be re-imaged and I do, in fact, need the non-existant password that has eluded me for three days–both for my teacher computer as well as for the student computers. She is hooking me up while I’m explaining to my young Jedis that earning treasure=good, moving shapes=bad and she pops in later as we jump to the words of our weekly poem about Favorite Toys. Add to the mix providing sub plans for the following week and you have one spent teacher by 11:00 am.
3 days down, 18 to go!