Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This Kindergarten Teacher Needs a Nap

No new posts lately. School is back in session and I spend my evenings exhausted. I am not complaining for this is my chosen profession and, with confidence, I can say that I am good at it. But there is no getting around that training a class full--20 at present--of 4- and 5-year-olds to function fairly smoothly in a school setting is extremely hard work. Yes, I said "four-year-olds," because Florida law requires children to be five by September first, meaning they can be in school for two weeks before they have their fifth birthday. Few children this young are really ready to be in kindergarten, but I am blessed this year with one who appears to be. Though most, nowadays, have been through some kind of preK program, kindergarten in a large public school is a giant leap, to put it mildly.

At car-pickup this afternoon, a teacher who is for the first time teaching a class of kindergartners and first graders in one class, came to me and said, "I have come to a conclusion: kindergarten teachers should get extra pay! I only have 9 kindergartners. I don't know how you do it by yourself with 20!" It was a new realization for her and nice for other kindergarten teachers to have someone else understand the challenges involved. Some say it is like herding cats. I think of it more as trying to push water with your hands: it slips right through your fingers. Knowing this is important and what keeps me counting heads all day. But already on this second day, my young students are beginning to get the hang of the routines and to understand what is expected of them. I have every hope that this will be a great class.

Every class is different but this year's group is quite unique. I have 11 boys and 9 girls. Seven of those eleven boys have a first name that begins with the letter "A". (What are the chances of that??) I have four children whose family origins are from India. I have one child whose family is from China. I have one with a congenital eye defect. I have one who requires two hearing aides.  Four have asthma. And in a country where Hispanics are now the largest minority, I have not a single one in my class.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Sounds like 20 lucky kids to me!!