I often tell people I am a Kindergarten Teacher, but that is not completely accurate. I am, in fact, a teacher of kindergarten students. I love my job and I love the students. So much of our day is not covered by a curriculum or plan. If only the children knew explicitly what I really mean.
Maybe they do.
I hope they do.
When I say, “Try your zipper first, I will help you if you still can’t get it.” I’m telling you that independence is important and I am confident in your abilities.
When my team member tells you, “Those bins are for toys. Are you a toy?” she is really saying, “I want you to be safe and make safe choices. I care about you.”
When I tell you, “I know you farted. That is not nice, we say ‘excuse me’ ” I’m really telling you, “You can’t just fart in front of people and expect them not to notice. Plus, that’s gross.”
When I ask you, “Did you wash your hands? With soap?” I’m letting you know that hygiene is important and also that teachers always know when you skip that step. Or lie.
When you almost trip me in the hall as I walk by with arms full of resources just to give me a hug, I return that hug with a smile because even though I nearly died, you matter to me. We’ll talk about Sneak Attack Hugs another time.
When I tell you to eat your healthy foods first it’s because I care enough to teach you good eating habits. I want you to have a great day and feed your body food that is good for learning. And when I comment on how yummy your cookie looks I’m saying, “I get it, treats are important, too. Life is all about balance.”
When you colour and write your name on a wooden block, I have you scrub that block clean because choices have consequences. It’s always best to tell the truth and own up to your actions. I know you will do better in the future.
When I fist bump you for a well-executed belch before reminding you it is impolite, I’m really saying, “I get it. But there is a time and a place for that.”
When I tell you that you may not cut the line, I’m really saying, “I care enough to teach you that no one likes a ‘butt-er’ and I want you to keep your friends.”
When you put your hands on a friend and hurt them, I will make you take a break. I’m really telling you and your classmates that school is a safe place for everyone. No one is allowed to hurt someone I care about.
When you flop on the ground and squawk I will tell you that you cannot join us for computer lab. And it hurts me. I know you love computer time. But I love you enough to be consistent and set boundaries. We’ll try again next time.
And when you come up to me and ask me to pull out your first tooth, you are telling me, “I trust you.”
I trust you.
That is the best subtext of all.