I'm ready to share my truths about teaching Kindergarten! My friends all think I'm crazy, my mom thinks I should get a raise, and my husband wishes I would spend less time in my classroom. Here is the real deal....
It might sound like a job where you get to play with play dough, color, and build sandcastles all day. I am here to tell you it's not. We do many of those things on a daily basis but there are a lot of things people don't tell you about. Those moments when you have to have a talk to your kinder friends about keeping their hands to themselves, not stealing, and keeping those naughty words out of school. It isn't easy to look into those sweet little eyes and let them know they didn't exactly make the best decision. I've seen a lot of tears over the years, but you just have to stand your ground and make sure they understand the importance of your little talks.
I have a little boy that moves ALL the time. He never stops. He especially doesn't stop during calendar time, mini-lessons, or when I'm giving directions. I've finally learned that if I give him a "project" (that's what he likes to call them) he can happily move around the room, clean up trash or whatever the project may be, and still listen to EVERY SINGLE WORD I am saying. That's what he needs, so that's what I give him. Guess what? I need the same thing. I may be doing 10 other things when you are trying to have a conversation with me, but I hear (almost) every word!
Transitions require songs. Lots of songs. YouTube is my best friend and we have lots of transition songs that help us clean up, go to the rug, hand out writing journals, and well...you get the picture. We sing to learn our alphabet and sight words and we LOVE to sing to count by 1's, 5's, and 10's. It amazes me how growing up drains the singing and dancing out of people. When you are 5, every day is a dance party!
Internet down? Phone rings? You have a splitting headache and need to take an aspirin? They're gone! Kinders don't sit and wait for a phone call to be finished. If your eyes aren't on them or they get the feeling you are not paying attention PANDEMONIUM erupts. Every. Time.
When I taught 5th grade a few years ago I always had those moments when I could get the class working, shuffle through a few papers to get them organized (so I could take them home and grade them) or just put a few things away to get ready for the next lesson. My classroom wasn't a mess at the end of the day, because I maintained it all day long. Kindergarten? Forget it. It's like being in an onstage production of The Sound of Music all day every day.
I really wanted to say, yes...that is pee on the floor. No kidding. It happens a lot. We have one rule about the bathroom in our classroom. If you need to go.....go. Isn't that simple? Well do you remember when your kids were little (or maybe they still are) and they start that little dance that tells you they need to go. And they have to be TOLD to go. That's almost impossible with 23 5 year olds in one room. That little dance doesn't always get noticed. Yes, we pee on the floor sometimes but we don't always tell the teacher we did it. And yes, that was a booger. It happens.
Ok, this is the real reason I teach Kindergarten. As a teacher we dream about those moments when a student says, "Oh, I get it!" or "I did it!". There is an entire class in college dedicated to celebrating "aha" moments (just kidding) but seriously, isn't that why we all became teachers? That moment you finally reached a child after months of trying? It happens all the time in Kinder. Like every single day. The growth that happens from August to May floors me every time.
Ok, I admitted that you always have to be "on" in a Kinder class but sometimes right before I start calling kids over for small groups I just sit and watch them read during Read to Self time. It's so lovely to watch an entire group of kids sit down with a book and read. It's my 30 seconds of therapy a day. :)
It's no secret we cry in Kindergarten. We still cry in the morning, and sometimes at lunchtime, and we have been known to cry on the way out the door. However, if you think back to the first day of school we cry a lot less than we used to! I had little ones that didn't want to let go of mom's shirt on the first day of school and now they are reading books all on their own. Now that is amazing. I just had my Spring Parent/Teacher conferences and the most common comment was, "They are reading everything!". At the store, in the car, or when mom and dad are spelling things out loud so they can keep something a secret. Yes, it's a whole new world out there!
I left Kinder for about 5 years and I didn't realize how much I missed it. It really is my home. I loved first grade and I do miss it sometimes but Kindergarten is my home...boogers and all.
Now it's your turn! If you teach Kinder, link up with your truths. If you don't teach Kindergarten and you just want to read some honest blogs about teaching Kinder, head over to the Kindergarten Connection.
Thanks for visiting!