My students are third graders- 8-9 years old. Occasionally some will start at age 7. This is the youngest age I’ve worked with, and I’m fine with that.
Being in a k-6 school, however, I get to interact fairly often with kindergartners. In my professional opinion, they are a whole different ballgame than first grade and up. A colleague once described teaching kindergarten as “being pecked to death by ducklings.”
I tend to think of them as puppies. Have you ever tried to yell at a puppy? Even if it does something awful like crap on your rug, eat your shoes, barf in your purse, it still looks at you with big, sad, adorable eyes. I can’t discipline kindergartners for the same reason it’s hard to yell at puppies.
I also find the range of their ability amazing and frightening. Kids develop at very different times, so in kindergarten you have kids pooping their pants regularly just for the thrill of it, and kids with a vocabulary and deductive reasoning skills that make you feel bad about yourself.
Right now I tutor a kindergartner, and my class is paired up with a K class once a week to read to. I also see them around the school, and when I bring kids to their buses. I don’t know what it was, but this week was full of some real comedic gold from that age group. Here’s some of the best.
While bringing out buses, a little girl who has a sister in my class came up to me and informed me that their was an animal in her backpack. Further questions revealed that it was not a toy, was moving a lot, and had fur. Hesitantly exploring her back pack, I found a caterpillar that seemed prepared to grow up into a moth the size of an eagle. After admonishing me for not believing her in the first place, the little girl and I managed to coax the beast onto a piece of paper and free him into the garden, where I assume he will catch and eat small birds. I told her we liberated him, which she heard as “libraried”. Now I think her class thinks I teach bugs to read.
The boy I tutor was telling me about how his class is studying dinosaurs. He was thrilled to learn that we shared a favorite dinosaur (a velociraptor. Obviously.) and impressed by my knowledge. Now every child in his class refers to me by my name followed by “who knows a lot about velociraptors.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a better name.
Two teeny girls entertained themselves while waiting for the bus by making paper hats. First they showed me how, then they made one for me. It was tiny, so I figured I wouldn’t be required to wear it. They then made two for me, so more of my head was covered. I put them on for a minute to be a good sport, and one clasped her hands under her chin like a damn disney character and said “I’m so glad you weared them! Other teachers don’t want to weared them.” So in front of a couple hundred kids and a few colleagues, I weared my two paper hats proud.
While holding my hand and walking to the bus, a small boy with a huge vocabulary informed me that he had the power to transform people into toads. Specifically bullies and “people who have done wrong to me”. He then told me he keeps them in cages at his house and feeds them human food because “They might look like toads, but they’re still humans, so they need human food.” He keeps them so they remember “that they did wrong.” He also casually mentioned his ability to teleport things by opening portals of the right size. “It drains my energy, but the bus gets here faster.” I put him on the bus while fervently hoping that when he becomes supreme chancellor of the world he remembers me kindly.
This is a single weeks worth of kindergarten comments. If I taught that age, I could update this damn blog hourly.