Kindergarten Subtext

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.

Ferris Wheel Moment

Recently a kindergarten student was struggling with going to music class. His biggest concern was the noise and busyness of so many kids singing together. A coworker and I debated about how much we should force the issue. It was a tough balance between expecting him to do what the class was doing and respecting his sensitivity.

What to do, what to do.

Then I told him a story.

When I was in about grade two, my dad took me to Niagara Falls. They had the biggest ferris wheel ever. It was so high you wouldn’t believe it. Now, I don’t like heights. Being really high up makes my stomach feel funny and I get scared. My dad knew this. But he also knew that the ride might be a once in a lifetime moment. So he made me a deal. He said:

“Try it for one rotation. Just one. We’re the only ones here. I will tell the operator that if you want to get off, I will signal him to stop it after one time. But if you’re okay after one time around, then I’ll give the thumbs up and we’ll go again. Every time we get to the bottom, I’ll signal to him and you can decide when you want to get off. Deal?”

Even though I still felt nervous and scared, I got on the ride and we went around. And you know what? It was amazing. I did love it. Yes, every time we got to the top my stomach flipped a little, but my dad was with me and I trusted him. I saw things from that ferris wheel that I would never see from the ground. I was glad I tried it out.

Then I looked my little friend in the eye and said, “This is your ferris wheel moment.”

I asked him if we could make a deal. He had told me he didn’t want headphones on because they hurt his ears, so that wouldn’t help him in music class. No problem, no headphones. I suggested he could sit right at the back, close to the door. He agreed. Then I suggested we give it a try for five minutes, he countered with one, I came back with two and we shook hands. Off we went to music class. And he did it! He sat in his spot and we were both surprised when my timer beeped announcing the two minutes was over. He declined my offer to stay longer and we agreed that next week we would try for three minutes.

This is your ferris wheel moment.

The New Frontier: My First Podcast

I’ve listened to some podcasts, wondered about podcasts, and now I’m part of a podcast.

This is a conversation with my new friend, Michelle at People I Almost Know and also Steadily Skipping Stones

We chat about twitter, blogging, making friends through social media, my boys, and another great passion of mine: teaching.

Here’s mine: People I Almost Know: Wonder Woman Jan Moyer (she was very kind with the title).

I Don’t Mean to Brag, but…

I actually have a superpower.

Brace yourself and prepare to be amazed.

A few years ago when I did Science as a stand-alone subject and not part of learning centre time, I invited Professor Petri to come in and do a science lesson. Professor Petri looked a lot like me, but with goggles and a lab coat. Funnily enough, whenever Professor Petri appeared, Mrs. Moyer vanished! It was uncanny and just a tad unnerving. The students claimed we looked a lot alike, but that only made sense since we are cousins and she tends to copy my excellent taste in fashion (that was nice at first, but has worn on me as the years have passed – make your own clothing choices, Professor Petri -sheesh!). The students pointed out some other similarities and I have to admit, Professor does talk with her hands and says, “I know, right?!”, but don’t forget that we’re cousins and she’s a big copycat.

After her engaging and stimulating science lesson Professor Petri would have to dash off to her other job at Tim Hortons (she was always running late, something I’m thankful we don’t have in common). I’d return to class (thanks for leaving them unattended P.P.) and the kids would be so excited about the materials she left for them to explore that it made all the copycat stuff more palatable.

So, yeah, I’m pretty good at duping small children.

It's not flattering, but it's for the kids. My other alter ego, Super Moyer.
It’s not flattering, but it’s for the kids. My other alter ego, Super Moyer.

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This post is part of the Kindeblog13 Summer Blog Challenge. To read other posts in this series, go to http://www.kinderchat123.net