Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Kindergarten Krud

It has been a long week.

I have been sick but oh so busy!

I don't know why teachers hate to take a day off when we are sick.
Maybe because it seems like such a waste of a day off?
It is a good thing we aren't paid to be logical about every single thing.

It really is a mystery how I got sick.

I don't want to point fingers at any known nose pickers but 
I have been sick all week and he/she/they started it.

After 20+ years with kindergarteners I should have an immune
system medical researchers discuss in reverent tones.

Not to mention the fact that this school year
for totally unrelated reasons we wash hands,
tables and doorknobs and use hanitizer
(kindergarten for hand sanitizer)
from jumbo sized containers more often than Adrian Monk.

It has been an an orchestra of symptoms building to a crescendo
towards the end of this week. I made it through the work day
Friday without crying or using inappropriate words at school
but it was a little iffy towards the end of the day.

When I am sick the last thing I want to do is talk.
That is when it becomes inconvenient to be a teacher
because I am pretty sure that it is against the rules to sit in
a rolling chair and stare blankly at 20 or so students.

It is possibly also dangerous but that is a story for another day.
It involves a chair, a student, an unsuspecting innocent teacher,
a VERY unsupportive co-worker (just kidding, Brandy)
and a possible worker comp claim.

Stay tuned.
It is a great story.
One that happens Only IN Kindergarten.

Just sayin'.................................................

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sally, You Know Who and Jane

Times are changing my fiends friends.

The timeless Sally, You Know Who and Jane books are popular amoung
the early readers but I just can't take it anymore.

It feels like I am desecrating something almost sacred
but this week I'll be changing all of the capital Ds to capital Rs
in this set of books in my classroom.

I am reminded of the time my librarian mother used a black Sharpie
to draw shorts on the naked baby in the Maurice Sendak book,
In The Night Kitchen.

I thought she was so old fasioned and risked my life
by teasing her about it.

The snickers from some and the horrified looks from others have made
even me uncomfortable.

Sally, Rick and Jane.

It has a nice ring to it.

Just sayin'......................

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Baby Brother

I am typing this on my iPad (thank you Steve) and wondering why I can't choose my usual color or font.

Oh well, at least I am not sitting in a chair at Grady Hospital, squinting at my phone and trying to update friends and family on the condition of my little brother.

Instead, I am comfortably propped up in bed as I look for the words worthy of this update.

I wonder if these phrases will work:
Heart swelling pride
Teary eyed thankfulness
Humble appreciation for God's grace

Have you prayed for something for years and years?
Have you prayed so long for something that you worried
the words were too rote or too familiar to reach the ears of God?
Have you ever prayed for something for so long
that you had to grit your teeth and force yourself
to say the words because your faith had grown thin?

I have.

Oh, how I wish that I could shout this story in all caps so that you would all know what I know.
But, as always, I will only tell the stories that are mine to tell.

Know this-
my baby brother may look like a fabulously handsome Clark Kent
(note to Marlin-I in no way consider you as plain looking as the many actors who portrayed Superman and use this comparison only for literary purposes)
but beneath that very attractive exterior lies a superhero.

He has been my hero at many points in my life.
He allowed me to ride on his social coat tails on the many occasions
my shyness made me seem unfriendly dorky.
Marlin made friends easily and he was almost always willing to pave the way
for his awkward older sister. And while I often relied on his confidence and
charisma to make things easier for me, God help you if you insulted him or hurt
him in any way. After all, he was my baby brother.

Marlin was often braver than I was and I sometimes have a very difficult time
remaining composed when I think of things he faced down alone.
He didn't have to but he didn't know that at the time.

During most of my teenage years I had a reoccurring nightmare that scared the
ever-loving stuffing out of me and frankly still does a little.

Okay,okay a lot.
And I can still remember every horrifying detail of that silly dream.

Anyway, my little brother rarely complained when I woke him to keep me company
and keep a little black dog named Midnight who had the head of a Chinese man
from getting me.

Google Hop Sing from the old western Bonanza and you'll be looking at the
face in my dreams.

Stop laughing. I'm baring my soul here people. And it is a known fact that  we
lived in a very spooky 100 year old house.
The stories I have about that house........


Brother of mine, you have taught me so much over our lifetime.
Although you never managed to teach me to dance or sing you
taught me to be true to who I am proud of what makes me-

But best of all,
you taught me that it is never too late for God's grace
and for Him to make us the person
He had planned for us to be all along.

My heart now bears witness to what my head has always known.

You taught me that our prayers really are ALWAYS heard.

Here's to 60 and to 90 and to all the other milestones we will mark together!

You rock, dude.
Okay, so I'm still a dork.

I'll always love you and I'll always be there to throw rocks at anyone that
picks on you.

P.S.-Mama's proud too. I can feel it all the way from heaven.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Best Job Ever

I know it's been a while.

Okay...I know it has been a long while.

This has been a trying challenging school year.

Seems like I just might say that every year but this year...
well, this year it isn't just me.

The entire school whispers about the kindergarteners, and believe you me, those whispers are not filled with joyous anticipation of a future opportunity to teach these little ones when we have done all we can with them. Let's just say that the 1st through 5th grade teachers are all checking retirement dates.  Smile.

(I'm not kidding.)

It's all good, though.  I know it is a kindergarten teacher's job to tame the little monsters rascals. It falls on us and their pre-k teachers to civilize them and teach them about school words, school manners and school behavior and it is very much like trying to herd crazed chickens all in one direction.

It is just an unusual year in that every class has two or more...shall we say, special challenges.

I'm not just talking about behavior issues although some of our babies have us earning every bit of our salaries and then some.

We are feeding more of them, dressing more of them, comforting more of them and sending home more toothbrushes and shoelaces than every before. We are talking them through big feelings about events in their lives that children should never have to experience.

Kids today see too much, know too much and experience too much. What was once unusual and cause for open mouthed disbelief has become the norm and teachers now find themselves surprised by the occasional 'innocent' students we find in our classrooms.

God bless the innocent ones because they are often the ones that can soothe our souls when we have tried and failed to help their less blessed counterparts. If you are a parent of a young child who refers to 'shut-up' as the S word, 'dumb' as the D word and identifies 'fart' as the F word then God bless you too.

So yes, we find ourselves doing more. Much more.

Yes, I am braiding her hair untouched since I braided it the day before or letting him sleep during calendar time this morning because I know about what happened at home last night.

Yes, I am telling them that sometimes the kid has to remind the parent that homework is a 'have to' not a 'choice' and that if that doesn't work to be honest and tell me so that I can find a time to practice sight words with them at school.

Yes, I am pushing them, raising the bar beyond what society might expect considering their special needs. I am tolerating their differences while teaching their peers to do the same.

Yes, I am loving them as much and as hard as I can even though others might think I am too soft, too easy or too tolerant.

Sometimes that is all I can do and sometimes I am the only one that will.

Is it odd that I feel honored to be that person for them.

Surely it isn't. Because at least once a day one or more of the other teachers I work with will say, "This is the best job, ever!"

And it is.