Tell Me Everything

Once a week my class pairs up with a first grade class to read books. It’s one of my favorite traditions, and the older and younger kids all really love it. It’s also a chance for me to interact with first graders, which is always an adventure.

Today one little girl brought a non-fiction book about fish to read with her buddy. They were near my desk as I answered an email, so I could hear my student patiently answering questions about fish. Do they blink? Do they have eyelids? If they don’t, how do they close their eyes when they sleep? My student patiently answered as best she could, including to say she didn’t know and maybe they could do more research together in the library. I smiled to myself, so proud of my student.

However, after awhile they hit a point where my fifth grader was all out of answers. Which was when I looked up from my computer to see a tiny person staring at me solemnly. As soon as I made eye contact, she demanded “Tell me about goldfish rectums.” In a heavy Russian accent, which made it even better.

I stared back at her as I decided where to start. “What do you want to know?” I asked. “Everything.” She answered.

Thus followed a detailed discussion of the digestive system, fish eating habits, and official terminology of body parts. Always an adventure.

Advertisements

Why I Don’t Teach Kindergarten

The youngest grade I have ever worked with for longer than a few hours is third grade. I have said before, I think primary teachers are superheroes and I bow down before them. Days like today really bring that point home.

At the end of the day, our kids go in to the gym and line up by their bus number. When their bus arrives, a teacher will come bring the line out. Today I walked over to a line and saw the following: five very uncomfortable upper elementary kids, a distraught looking fourth grader hovering over a tiny girl who was smiling beatifically, and a second grade boy named Mikey who was calmly informing the tiny girl that her butt was showing. “Just pull up your pants some more.” He was telling her. She gamely hitched them up. The other kids still looked horrified.

I picked up the sign that had their bus number, inwardly rolled my eyes that the other kids couldn’t handle a tiny bit of butt crack showing, and thanked the gods it was Friday. The line followed behind me, tiny girl at the front. When we reached the door, the little on went on ahead of me, and I saw the real problem.

Her butt was out. Her entire bare bum, her pants pulled down almost to the back of her thighs. “Her butt is out again.”  MIkey announced. The older kids all turned red, looked anywhere else, and tried not to hysterically laugh. “OoooK honey!” I took her backpack, and asked her sweetly to pull her pants up. She did, grabbing them by the front and yanking them up past her belly button. Somehow this made the back go even lower, as evidenced by the gasps and muffled giggles of the older kids.

“Grab the pants by your hips, ok?” I tried. She pulled them by the front even higher. I moved her teeny little hands on to her hips and had her pull them, but that was all I felt comfortable doing- what with all the naked butt and not my student and I don’t know how to handle these situations, ok?!

Meanwhile, the teacher coordinating calling the buses as they came was trying to get my attention to see why we were stopped. “Her butt is out!” Mikey yelled, pointing at the little girl, but actually sort of pointing at me, based on the confused and concerned look every colleague in the vicinity gave me. “Not mine, hers!” I mouthed at the bus caller. Meanwhile, tiny girl was still smiling serenely.

“Grab the pants and pull up like this, ok? Like this!” I made a frantic pants-pulling-up motion. “Do you want me to help shake her?” The hovering fourth grader asked me. “What? No, we don’t need to shake her.” I said frantically.

Finally, we had the majority of her butt covered, and we headed towards the bus. As the line moved forward, Mikey said “Oh, no…” Sure enough, we had a full moon as the tiny one walked proudly and happily onto the bus. The bus driver looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

“Um, her butt is out.” I told the driver, pointing at the little girl. “And, I, I tried, pants, I don’t, I have to go…” I muttered all this while backing slowly away from the bus. Then I scurried back inside.

Hats off to you, superheroes.