Well man, I've been delinquent. The amazing world of kindergarten has absorbed a ton of my time, (with a birth on the side, nonetheless, but this is a teacher's blog, not a doula's, so you'll have to get that info out of me some other way. I will say this- I plan on birthing at home, now more than ever. Frikkin doctor...)
Anyways, it's just tons of fun at Room 109. One of the ways I have been trying to motivate my little spazlings into doing "the right thing" (aka not shrieking, staying in one general spot for just a few moments, and participating) is by bringing in a fish tank and all of the little doodads that go along with one. The deal is: if they are by and large well behaved for a day, we add one more element to the fish tank. I was explaining this to them one day on the carpet.
Me: "I have so many fun ideas that I want to do with all of you- but if you're Time Wasters, we can't do them. I will have to take my fun ideas home to Mr. C."
Little Clara: looks thoughtful
Me: "One of these things is a fish tank. If everyone makes right choices, we can add to the tank every day, and soon we can add fish! I hope everyone makes right choices! Otherwise, I'll just have to bring home the fish for Mr. C. to play with."
Little Clara: "Is Mr. C. your imaginary friend? It's okay to have an imaginary friend, right?"
Is Mr. C. truly my imaginary friend? This girl scared the ever-living quantum physics out of me, resulting in an afternoon of pensive reflections about whether or not the last 10 months have been some kind of hallucination.
My kids have been very lovingly bringing me little presents as well. One child, the "Quiet Instigator" has been stealing things from his cousins' rooms and bringing me all sorts of pre-teen girl jewelry. Another boy brought me, of all things, a square inch of bread last Friday. Another one brought me a postcard with a dog and a kitten on one side, with the reminder on the other that "Tigger is overdue for his distemper vaccine." Treasures!
During an observation, it became clear that I'm mashing letter concepts into their little craniums pretty hard when I held up a small triangle and a large triangle and asked them to tell me the similarities and differences. "One's a capital triangle, and one's a lowercase triangle," they all yelled (since when do five year olds do anything quietly?)
Walking them through the hallways is enough to cause other teachers of older students to bend completely in half laughing. I don't go into these trips half-assed, either. We have debriefing sessions that are pretty intense:
Me: "We'll be walking into the hallways pretty soon ladies and gentlemen, you know what you have to do. Are we in wiggly-jiggly lines?"
Class: "NO! Straight lines!"
Me: "How about our voices?"
Class: "Turn them off!"
Me: "What if you really have to say something?"
Class: "We'd better be bleeding or barfing if we are talking!"
Me: "Where are we looking?"
Class: "Straight ahead!"
Well, but attention spans and short term memories aren't what they used to be. No sooner are we out in the hall before:
Limited English Speaker: "Hey teesher, teesher, I hab two things to say-"
Me: "No Limited English, save it."
LES: "Two things-"
Me: "NO." Repeat, repeat, repeat. I tell him to cover his mouth with his hand.
We struggle on, most of the class still hanging on, a few kids losing track of where we are and what we are doing, wander away. Once retrieved, a few other ones do the same thing." We stop and gather our thoughts. Repeat process all the way to the library (or computer lab, or wherever.) Teachers passing us in the hallway practically are in tears trying not to laugh.
More insanity later...