A second time through the rigors of kindergarten instruction. The teacher is smiling at the door and doing well. She has a seat set aside for me! Again, coming in and sitting down I am taken by the fact that K kids love a task. We are connecting letters of the alphabet in order to form a picture of the sun, then coloring it in with markers. Markers can make you either a better artist or a worse one than crayons.
I always wished I could get this kind of coverage from a crayon when I was truly 5! I try to be “artistic” by using various “sun colors” such as orange, red, yellow just to see if I could impress my neighbor. Nothing doing. He is impressed with power. Holding his crayola marker much like a weapon, you know when the point is coming out between your pinky and your palm, he applies brutal force to his work. I try to enquire and simply get the “more power, dude” look from him. And the teacher does fine without attempting to disarm the boy.
But class is off and running. Different pace, different kids. These guys are tamer than the crew two weeks ago. Now that is not to say that we don’t have some personality, it just wears a different badge.
The squirms and wiggles are not as bad here, but we have the interesting phenomenon of “me v. world” that is prevalent in our day. This is the issue that I as a 5 yr old know waaaayyy more than any ol adult. The teacher is working hard to be patient and gentle and all the right things, but these kids just don’t have the fear of teacher in them quite the same as I remember in the cromagnon days of my own k years. I was certain my k teacher (Mrs. Ruptke, pronounced rupt-key) was about 90 or so. And she knew our very hearts and intents before we did, so we just did our best to think only thoughts of primary colors and carefully formed letters. Today’s kid has a lot different thoughts it would appear.
My point is that I perceive in this little chair as I sit and work through the day that we have ever changing challenges in education. No two k’s are the same, but each generation moves on to other issues as a group as well. My teacher is up against the very nature of flux. And she is doing fine, but it is taxing. How can I help when I become a head again tomorrow?
Interesting Bible lesson in the class: Sodom and Gommorah. How do these innocents possibly grasp such things? They understand “bad men” but the discussion between the Lord and Abraham (perhaps for just 20 righteous?) is way beyond them. But they will grow into understanding perhaps even earlier than their parents. We grow up way faster in our modern society. Either the teacher or kid version of the story does great dealing with the whole town showing up at Lot’s door to “hurt” the angels. They don’t need to know the Hebrew describes a homosexual overature. They will get all that to deal with soon enough, at their own front doors (or tv screens).
I go on through some math and enjoy manipulatives. I just don’t remember having such things back when. But there they are today: little plastic dead bears. All sorts of colors. And variety is key to the kids: must have at least one of each color. And what do they do as soon as they get their bundle? The same thing that I find myself doing: ordering them. Some face them all in a line toward themselves, others the opposite. The ordering principle is unique to almost each child, though some look at their neighbor and copy. Then the directive from the teacher comes on what to do and maybe 80% get it right. Teacher must float over the tops helping them all get things right (and she does fine, by the way). Everyone must have a blue bear in the first place (we are working with ordinals). I truly forget “who I am” for a few minutes and enter into the lesson. And so do many others.
But recess comes quickly, and off to the races. Have you ever watched five year olds “fill” a playground. I bet if you made it 1/2 mile by 1 mile in dimensions, these 12 kids would fill it. Our playground is much smaller than that. Two bases send and receive little “kid sorties” for the whole period. The sand pile at one end; the plastic play fort at the other. What are they playing? These days the best question is what movie are they playing. Star Wars is still king in this box office. Imaginary light sabers wreak havoc. And girls at age five can carry one continuous scream for about six point eight minutes. The teacher wears a path back and forth being all Solomon could have hoped to have been. She is doing fine.
And what is it about the one, at it is 90% of the time only one, that is off by themselves? I was that kid a portion of my young life. Not with the others, off dreaming in another world. What generates that one? Is there an anti-social gene? Its worth contemplation, but you can’t contemplate too much in a halfday K. We are back inside for snack.
I would refer the reader back to my other discussion of k snacks, especially to my comments on size. And everything is packed in a way that will keep them safe through a nuclear holocaust. Seriously, how are we supposed to get into some of these things. I would love to see digital technology make voice activated juice boxes. Just say three very incongrous code words together and up pops the integrated straw: diamond yoko hamburgers. Sorry, but I think this is the type of intelligence engendered by a few hours in kindergarten. But the teacher is doing well.
The bummer for this round of K visits is that I teach my own class in mid morning, so for about an hour I leave, only to return just before the day is done at noon. The teacher has done well (can you sense that I know the teacher is going to read this blog and want to know that she did well?) I am happy to see the more relaxed and yet still respectful response of the kids to me after I have left behind my k status. I guess I am now a First grader. I get my first dose of a full day as a First grader soon, then I will have even more to blog about! Watch out First Grade, I am a comin’.