You might bea kindergarten teacher if … |

You might bea kindergarten teacher if …

Lorie Smith Schaefer

Although I’ve been an educator most of my life, I came to kindergarten rather late in my career. Perhaps it is for that reason I have noticed that kindergarten teachers are really quite different from other teachers. However, I haven’t been able to put my finger on precisely what that difference was. Until now.

You might be a kindergarten teacher if:

• You buy two pairs of running shoes a year and you don’t run.

You put 10,000 steps a day on your pedometer without leaving your classroom.

• “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and the “Hokey Pokey” are part of your daily exercise routine.

• You wear seasonal clothing and jewelry that no “normal” adult would wear. An apron is part of your “professional attire.”

• You use hand sanitizers like other people use perfume.

• You find yourself humming the days of the week song in the shower.

• You ask, “Did you flush?” and “Did you wash?” at least one hundred times a day.

• You wash your own hands 100 times a day.

• You thank God for whoever invented baby-wipes, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Velcro shoes.

• A daily review of coughing, sneezing and nose-blowing etiquette is appropriate and necessary.

• You have to remind your students not to write on the carpet. Or each other.

• You have added “booger flicking” to the list of classroom misdemeanors.

• You’ve used one of those little toilets in the last week.

• You fall asleep at 8:30 every night.

• You show up for your manicure with tempera paint and glitter under your fingernails.

• You go to every grocery store in town looking for alphabet macaroni and get excited when you find alphabet cookies at Costco.

• You buy zip-lock baggies by the gross.

• It takes you three times longer to prepare a lesson than to teach it.

• Your carefully written — and rewritten — lesson plans bear only a slight resemblance to what actually happens in class.

• You can sing a song, recite a poem or name a picture book to teach every standard in the kindergarten curriculum.

• You spend part of nearly every weekend and vacation at school.

• Your average sentence length has shrunk to five words and you repeat every one of them – every one of them – at least three times.

• You easily decipher those cryptic personalized license plates.

• You’ve made your own play-dough.

• All 29 of your students snap to attention when you say, “I like how Elliott is sitting.”

• All your pants have one or more of the following: paint stains, bleach spots, faded knees or dusty footprints from students putting their foot on your leg as you tie their shoes.

• Your first thought when the weatherman predicts rain is, “Oh, no. Indoor recess.”

• You recognize the irony in rewarding a large class for good attendance.

• You realize — too late – you didn’t learn how to say, “Don’t eat the glitter!” in your Spanish class.

• You stock up on Airborne, Echinacea and Vitamin C every winter.

• You know it’s easier to go to work with a cold than to prepare for a substitute.

• You believe almost any art project is better with glitter.

• You’ve decided against botox injections because then you couldn’t give “the teacher look.”

• When a student with limited English calls a book’s dust jacket a “sweater,” you understand the confusion and smile as you explain it.

• You know precisely how many days you have been in school. And how many days you have left.

• You’ve resorted to puppetry to hold your students’ attention.

• You spend at least as much time tying shoes as teaching the alphabet and it’s not even on the report card.

• You know what standards are covered by stringing colored macaroni on a necklace.

• You know kindergartners need blocks, paint, play-dough, songs, stories and patience. And outdoor recess.

• You are so accustomed to modeling good manners that you thank your dog for not barking. You even thank the police officer for your speeding ticket.

• A trip to Borders always begins and ends in the children’s section.

• You never go to the grocery store without buying at least one thing for school.

• During the course of your day, someone shows you – and you get to compliment them on – their new underwear.

• You work with the most spontaneous and unpredictable people in the world – 5-year-olds.

• Little voices singing “Home Means Nevada” can make you cry.

• You consider it a privilege to be a child’s first teacher.

• You witness small miracles every day.

n Lorie Schaefer teaches kindergarten at Seeliger, where she welcomed 57 of her favorite people back to school this week.