Welcome to March! This is my second favorite month of the year. It’s the start of spring and its my Birthday month. I love celebrating my birthday and I think having a St. Patrick’s Day birthday is about the best day on the whole calendar. Everyone loves to have some green fun and my family and friends rarely forget it since the world of social media alerts us all to upcoming holidays.
I also love the turning of a calendar page IF the previous month has been a big flop and that is certainly the case with February. I spent the whole month sick and trying to sleep off being sick and reading a butt load of books. That’s it. It’s time for a new month and new possibilities. Let’s start with my day job.
That pretty much takes care of Day job and Day drinking. We’ve been ratted on. They’ve figured it out.
I’m totally joking about the flask.
Not really. I mean, I myself do not have a stash of liquid patience in my classroom, but I have no idea about anybody else. I’m not here to judge anybody. I know what I DO have stashed at home
Kindergarten. My job is more like a calling. It’s a mission field. I love what I do and it takes a very understanding spouse to be able to devote the time and energy to my job that I feel I NEED to devote because of my students and their backgrounds. My weekends and vacations include time to work on school plans. He knew that and learned that when he watched me go through both of my education degrees. I’ve been teaching for 15+ years and every August is like a new page in a new book.
Why my school is special. I teach in a very low socioeconomic area and a high percentage of Hispanic students. Students in poverty see the school/classrooms as a safe place and their 2 meals at school are often their only meals. My actual job of working with and teaching 5-6 year olds is awesome. I love spending my day teaching kids. I love seeing their expressions when they GET IT. Reading their first book. Realizing they can reach the light switch. Seeing the Berry College Eagles feed their baby eaglets. Those moments are priceless.
I don’t love the bureaucratic red tape, the re-inventing of wheels, the new name/old idea, and piles of useless paperwork that seem to be present in every school everywhere. I’m giving those things the same amount of attention here that I give them in real life. Very little. I have more important things that actually matter to little humans that I need to be doing.
What I wish you knew about my job. If I could say one thing, no TWO things that I wish everyone in the world could get through their working database of kindergarten knowledge, here they are:
1. Kindergarten is now the grade that teaches children how to READ SENTENCES AND STORIES. And requires them to WRITE SENTENCES AND STORIES. I am not here to debate the shoulds or should nots—yes I am. They should NOT be pushed to read before they are ready. End of debate. I’m just telling you, in Alabama, kindergarten is no longer a time for just learning the sounds of all 52 letters. That is now expected to be done by late October. They have to be able to read simple sentences with a mastery of 50ish high-frequency words. Take a look at mid April passages for kindergarten.
2) Kindergarteners do not take naps in many school systems. That’s the second thing we have to correct with many people. We can’t play all day or sleep all day. There are too many developmentally INappropriate things to pound into their not-yet-developed brains. We have hard jobs, people.
That is a brief glimpse of the life of a kindergarten teacher. Other small details:
No, I don’t get summers off. I work my tail off at home and at school beginning July 5th. If we got paid by the hour, most could retire after 5 years.
Yes, I dress in seasonal leggings and boots. I totally rock that look no matter my age.
No, I do not wear typical teacher jewelry and denim jumpers. All black is more my style and lately, it’s hiking pants and flannel shirts.
No, I’ve never had a case of lice. Probably because the amount of product I have to use to tame this long curly business going on with my hair.
No, I have never uttered one curse word out loud to children. That is a major miracle.
Yes, I read out loud to my students and I “do” voices. It’s fantastic. I entertain myself as much as I do the kids.
Yes, I have uttered the phrase “R, get your fork out of your pants!!” in a crowded cafeteria.
Yes, I dream about the songs we sing every. single. day. When teaching students who are learning English, repetition is crucial.
Yes, the Usher Alphabet song is just for me. The kids love it and I’m glad because I’m playing it every Friday anyway. For me.
No, I don’t reuse lesson plans from the previous year. Each year is very different. (My husband once asked that. He’s never asked again.)
Yes, my yearbook picture this year is epic. I have a Grumpy Cat mask on. It’s my best one yet. Better than the pirate picture last year.
Yes, when former students come back to see me, it feels like the I have made a difference in this world and you can’t find that feeling in a flask.