Technically, I had only been unemployed for a little over 6 months before returning to work last month as a part time kindergarten intervention specialist. And yet it’s amazing how fast I had forgotten the grind of working, particularly those extra special nuances of the job when you’re a teacher. Here is just a smattering of the things I seem to have forgotten…
The Things We Forget
* God bless them….Kindergartners are the most flagrant, bold, in-your-face, unabashedly, unashamed nose-pickers on the planet earth. Gaze out over the book you are reading to a group of them, and there will be at least 6 fingers merrily trolling away.
* Getting up after sitting for 30 minutes on an ice cold tile floor is much easier to do when you’re 5 than when you’re 45.
* A teacher’s bladder is a powerful thing.
* The hamburgers are still gray.
* Tater tots can turn a bad day into a glad day
* Milk containers were not designed for 5-year-old fingers to open.
* Visiting the teacher’s room will make you fat even if there is Diet Coke in the soda machine.
* There is no such thing as a constant room temperature in a school building.
* The air in any given classroom at any given time is as dry as the Mojave, Gobi, Sahara…pick a desert, any desert.
* Yet, somehow, the main office is always the perfect room temperature. Regardless of the season.
* The incubation period of any given illness after having been in a classroom is exactly 8 hours. This would explain the sore throat I woke up with the morning after my first day on the job.
* Talking in an slightly slowed down, exaggerated version of your normal voice all day is exhausting.
* Teachers get nervous on the first day, too.
* Any and all “duties” are chaos-filled, loud, and slightly scary.
* I don’t care what baloney any of those “half a day, half a year” naysayers spout: Teachers are some of the hardest working people anywhere. Ever.
* They’re also some of the most welcoming, supportive folks, too.
* There will NEVER be just one kid at a time who needs a drink of water, needs to use the bathroom, or needs to go to the nurse. These are contagious classroom epidemics that occur most frequently during pivotal lessons. And lunchtime.
* Kids have a way of making you laugh no matter how crummy your day is going.
* On any given day, a 6-year-old will hand you a pearl of wisdom that demonstrates deeper insight into life than any adult could muster.
* The smell of paste, dry erase markers, laminating, erasers shavings, and tater tots means I am home again!
About the Author
Wendy Cushing is an 18-year veteran teacher who recently survived two consecutive reduction in force lay-offs and many months in the job market before recently landing a job as a Kindergarten Intevention Specialist. She is the proud mother of two wonderful daughters: a first grader and a college freshman at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan. Wendy writes a monthly column here at the Teacher’s Lounge chronicling her experiences as a teacher, both employed and unemployed, and serves as a freelance writer for Really Good Stuff’s product development department. She also blogs about teaching, parenting, and international adoption at www.lilybelles.blogspot.com.