A Big One

It started with someone pooping on the floor.  10 days ago Ms. Maslow agreed to spend some time with Sunny because he had, over the course of 3 or 4 days, managed to get 10 punches on his Spider Man necklace.  Mind you, he has to exhibit appropriate classroom behavior to punch Spider Man.  It took 3 or 4 days.  Anyhow, what began as an innocent game of Chutes and Ladders ended in a fecal disaster.  The details are fuzzy but even if they were crystal clear I don’t think any of you really need a play by play of how it happened.  All you really need to know is that it happened.  That was the Friday before last.  Now normally one would think that Friday is the end.  But the weekend was merely a moment of respite, just as one may attend a stage production, a comedy of errors to be specific, and enjoy casual conversation with people around them during the intermission.  Indeed, after what felt like only 5 or 10 minutes, the weekend was over and it was time for school again.

 

Monday was nothing special.  Sunny was suspended again for telling Ms. Teresa he was going to punch her in the face and shaking his fists at her.  The thought of Sunny punching someone and doing damage is laughable.  He has punched me before and it felt like being hit by an underhand tossed water balloon.  Be that as it may, there was nothing humorous about the sentiment behind the threat he made.  Somewhere on the horizon there must be a colossal shift in his attitude just waiting to surprise us all.  If not, I think we need to seriously reconsider how we manage his behavior because he just keeps doing the same stuff over and over again.  Apparently he thinks that one day we will be okay with him hitting people.  Isn’t that how insanity was once defined?  To repeat an action numerous times yet expect a different result?  For a more cynical person than myself that may serve as a strong argument against going to work.  The cherry on top of that whole day was a faculty meeting.  At that meeting the principal compared us to worker bees.  Worker bees literally work themselves to death after only a few months of pollinating and writing lesson plans.  Tuesday, please.

 

The next couple of days were relatively quiet.  A lot of last week was spent preparing for Presidents’ Day.  Studying presidents in kindergarten is hilarious for several reasons.  The first reason is that the kids all get really fixated on the fact that every one of the famous presidents from the past are dead.  If you ask a group of five and six-year-olds to tell you something important about Abraham Lincoln I can almost guarantee you at least three of them will say he’s dead.  They may also mention his hat and beard.  The second reason studying presidents in kindergarten is fun is that students get to do a lot of presidential coloring activities.  Maybe you didn’t know this but most children aren’t at all interested in coloring only with black, gray, brown, navy blue, and white, which is what many things were colored in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Instead a child may turn in a picture of Thomas Jefferson donning a dapper looking lime green top coat with fanciful lavender frills and a fire engine red wig.  I’ll see a blaze orange stovepipe hat atop Lincoln’s head on a couple of worksheets.  He may as well be wearing a traffic cone.  We made president puppets too and the kids had a great time making them kiss each other or duel to the death.

 

The relative quiet was not meant to last.  Thursday descended upon us as a violent pink storm of hearts, lace, and cards with puppies on them that said things like “Best friends Furrrever!”  OHMYGOSHVALENTINESDAYAHHHHHHHH!!!

Mayhem.  Chaos.

Fun.

Wow was it exhausting.  We hit the ground running and started the process of distributing valentines first thing in the morning.  Out of twenty children I think 17 or 18 brought something for the entire class so the card holders we made were overflowing with a variety of sweets and kitschy cards.  The rest of the day happened fast and culminated in a frenzy of shredding and eating.  Frankly I don’t remember much of the next day.  I sat and thought about it for a while as I wrote this and couldn’t come up with anything so I’ll assume that everybody got along, learned how to read all of their sight words, and could count to 100 by the end of the day.  Success!  The weekend was so necessary!  More fun with people I like and I was fortunate to run into an old friend of mine who will be called Sticky.  She’s a messy eater and a speech therapist, or speech teacher, as they apparently like to be called.  I have always enjoyed her stories and was glad to catch up with her for a while.

 

Today the students did not have school.  Maybe tomorrow they will be docile since they were able to rest an extra day.  Or maybe not.  I can be sure that whatever happens, it will be something new and exciting.

Turning the Corner

Sunny chews on his Spiderman necklace even more, Rocky begins to lose his cool again, Mallow crawls underneath things more often than he has been for the last couple of months, Casper insists on screaming “NOOOOOOOO!  NO!” at everything you ask him to do, and the world keeps on turning.  The thing about winter is that it feels so long.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this season.  In fact, all things considered, winter may be my favorite season of the year.  I have always felt that it is very purifying and mysterious.  Yet from January to March the days sometimes seem to drag on and on for an eternity.  Very few days off, a serious lack of sunlight, a vitamin D deficiency, and less physical activity all combine to create a powerful sense of sloth.  I can feel that lazy, lackadaisical sensation starting to set in and I will fight it as hard as I can, but it will be a battle not easily won.  This is mostly because it takes far less effort to just sit down and turn on the idiot box or watch Youtube videos of people scaring their friends.  But I will try.

 

I’ve been sick for a while now.  If they weren’t so much fun to be around I would call my children plague bearers, and maybe they are to some extent, but they are my little plague bearers and I usually think they are great.  I’ve got a nagging cough.  You know the type.  Like a stain on freshly washed shirt or a crappy neighbor in an otherwise perfect neighborhood, this cough just refuses to go away and leave me alone.  It makes me sound like I should not be allowed out in public and I can’t imagine that parents who might hear me would be too excited about their kid being in my class.

 

Difficult as this past week has been I truly feel that we are about to turn some kind of corner.  The kids are slowly getting better and we keep adding school days to our now fairly long “Days in Kindergarten” number strip.  Every morning at calendar time we count how many days we have been in school and at this point it’s we’re at around 95.  Each morning we actually do a count off.  Do you know how long it takes to get an entire class of five-year-olds to count to 95 in unison?  I’ve never actually watched the clock to see but sweet mercy it feels like a long time.  What’s more, we will be in school 180 days when it is all said and done, so I have a lot of loud counting to look forward to in the future.  It’s interesting to see how many children can actually make it to 95.  At the beginning of the year maybe two or three children could consistently count to 100 and now about half the class can do it easily while most of the others are at least making good progress.

 

I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better, a little better all the time.  Of course there will still be bad days but I don’t expect that they will really disappear completely.  Not now, not ever.  I just want to end fewer days with “Thank goodness it is over” and more days with “Thank goodness I get to do it all again tomorrow.”