An accidental foray into kindergarten

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

I haven’t had luck with finding sub jobs this week; perhaps it’s because midterms are coming. The only job I’ve had all week was a half day elementary job yesterday, and that was a rather interesting story…

I’m certified to teach secondary education (i.e. middle school and high school) but will occasionally take jobs in upper elementary, and I’ve enjoyed most of my elementary classes. The kids are usually very genuine and I usually have more of an opportunity to do actual teaching as opposed to showing videos or telling the kids “work on your such and such paper”. I was having trouble finding a job for Tuesday, and when a half day job popped up on Subfinder for a second grade class, I decided to take it. I went into the school, and they accidentally directed me into the wrong room. “I’m looking for Mrs. Smith’s room (not her real name)”, I explained. “Oh, kindergarten, right that way!” Kindergarten? That wasn’t what I had signed up for. I had no idea how to teach kindergarten.

Sure enough, the teacher whose class I had agreed to take taught kindergarten. She hadn’t left for the day left, and when she asked me if I normally taught kindergarten, I honestly replied, “No, it said second grade.” She apologized and said that she had taught second grade the previous year and that the system must not have been updated with the change.

The day was difficult. I had a hard time getting the kids to obey; a couple kids were rowdy the entire time, and liked to run around the room. Another kid kept having other kids spin him around in a rolling chair, which I confiscated. I knew that I simply hadn’t been trained in dealing with this age range, and that the mix of common sense and student helpfulness that had previously gotten me through upper elementary classes wouldn’t bail me out here. Mercifully, it was a half day that was even shorter because an hour of it had the kids in their “specials” (Spanish and computer classes). I feel that I handled it the best that I could, but I don’t anticipate knowingly taking any students younger than third grade anytime soon.

To make matters worse, I hadn’t eaten lunch before leaving because I was running late. I’d had nothing but a banana, and I don’t plan on teaching on any empty stomach ever again.

Oh, I forgot about perhaps the most interesting part of the day. I had a student accuse another student of saying a bad word. “He said dammit! That’s a bad word!” I’m pretty sure that the “worst” word I knew in kindergarten was “hell”, and I remember that because a kid on the playground told my kindergarten teacher I’d said it when I actually said “Help!”

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