Friday, April 29, 2016

Life in a Kindergarten Classroom

Today, I had my first-ever experience substituting in a kindergarten classroom. It wasn't planned, but then again maybe it was.

Yesterday, I noticed that I didn't have anything on my calendar for today so I thought a Friday off to do nothing might be in the works. I have some vacation and personal leave time available so why not? But last night I began to waffle and decided to set my alarm as normal and see what the morning brings. Alarm went off, I got up, showered, downed my usual coffee and off to work I went. But decided to make it one of my occasional (not enough) "No Office Days" and spend the entire day in our schools.

First stop, the Early Childhood Center about a half hour before the start of the school day. But before I knew it, I was subbing in a kindergarten classroom because the scheduled substitute decided to turn down the assignment. And because the look on the principal's face was one of desperation. Certainly can't blame him.

So off I went to fill in for Ms. Swem and meet my 27 (only twenty-five were present) darling 5 and 6 year-olds.

What a ride! The teacher had great, detailed sub plans but pacing the day was a struggle from the start given that I lacked any recent classroom experience and never filled in for a kindergarten teacher. But the career Army in me kicked in and decided come hell or high-water, the mission will be accomplished.

Then the kids showed up and I learned a whole different set of lessons.

But we made it. As a team. Well, some of the time as a team.

Well, actually we were never really a team, but for one day it didn't matter. I think we enjoyed each other's company and learned a lot about each other's world.

Yes, there were challenges most of which I still believe are the result of our penchant for pushing academic learning down to the earliest grades at the expense of socialization and school-readiness, but that's for another blog post another time.

As for today, every superintendent that hasn't should spend a day in kindergarten. Your empathy for both kids and teachers will grow a thousand-fold.

I believe fate decided I didn't need the day off and I'm glad it did.

Enjoy your weekend. I certainly will.

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