At the end of a long school day that started with a doctor’s appointment and ended with a Math test, I had seen all of my students safely onto their buses and was ready to go to my class and pack up to leave when my friend, a kindergarten teacher, walked around the corner leading a train of five-year-olds. I had heard earlier in the day that her classroom was up to 29 students. Twenty-nine. So, I stopped in front of her and asked “Do you need any help?” She took a deep breath and put her hand on a boy’s shoulder. “This boy is a walker. He got in the wrong line. Can you take him to the front?” The little boy was supposed to have gone with the teaching assistant and, in fact, had been in her line when the students were organized in their classroom, but something made him follow the teacher’s bus line instead. “Sure!” I said brightly to my friend and took the boy’s hand, introduced myself to him and walked out to the front of the building. There was a throng of excited parents and grandparents waiting to pick up their kindergarteners after the first day of school. (Kindergarten started a week after the rest of us.) The little boy saw his family right away and we walked over to them. Poor Mom was starting to get a bit anxious since all the other students from his class had been dismissed to their families. She was relieved to find him safe and gave him the greatest hello kiss. I explained the misunderstanding, she thanked me, and off they went, happy as can be.
The first day of school is stressful for all of us, but for our little kindergarteners, who may never have been in school before, it is a completely new world. They think they’re doing what’s right by following one teacher instead of the other. They’ll get the hang of it within a week.
And for kindergarten parents, oh my. When we first send our children off to school, let’s face it, we only half trust that these strangers are going to take good care of our little ones. As teachers, we have to prove it. And to our credit we usually do. I hope my friend and I earned a little trust today, despite the little mix up.
My Slice of Life probably sounds very familiar to every teacher reading this. You can read lots of stories by teachers and other writers by visiting the Two Writing Teacher’s blog.