Transitioning to the classroom after staying at home with my children for ten years was not easy. Technology BK (Before Kids) consisted of telephone calls to parents, a very large desktop computer, mimeograph machines, overhead projectors, and VCR’s. Technology AK (After Kids) involved communicating with parents through email, laptops/tablets, fancy photocopiers, SmartBoards, and CD’s. Let’s just say, I was more than overwhelmed.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my first class AK was quite challenging. My morning kindergarten was filled with high-energy ‘ber-babies’ (children born in October, November, or December who entered kindergarten as 4-year olds). As I was adjusting to this new way of teaching, I was also trying to manage a wide range of behaviors.
If you have ever taught kindergarten, you know that kindergartners say anything and everything. As I was just about ready to launch my Word Study lesson, in walks a group of seven school administrators completing state-wide Instructional Rounds. My inner-voice reminded me to remain calm. My young learners loved Word Study and they were always engaged in the lessons. Besides, what could go wrong in fifteen minutes?
Things were going great. My kinders remained so focused on me. Two words done, three to go. “Elbows up!” and 20 little elbows flew into the air. I was not overly worried about the one lonely elbow that was gently stroking my leg; poking at my stockings. Although Linus didn’t raise his elbow in the air like his peers, I could hear him ‘tapping’ and blending the sounds orally with great ease . . .
/m/ /o/ /p/ ——- mop
In the air waves Linus’s hand. Assuming that Linus was going to share something off task, I looked right over his head and continued, “Let’s build the word.” Students quickly searched for the corresponding letter tiles, moving them to the bottom half of their letter boards . . .
Linus’s hand continued to wave like crazy. All I could think of were the seven set of eyes in the back of the room. So I simply continued, “Great job Boys and Girls. You built the word mop. Let’s spell it!”
As if he was about to bubble over, up go both of Linus’s hands. The class spells, “m…o…p” and I continue to forge ahead and say, “Spell it away!”
And this is when Linus could no longer contain himself, “Mrs. Aufin, Mrs. Aufin! I have an important question.”
“Hang tight Linus. I’ll be with you in two words.”
“No! No! It’s important; really R.E.A.L.L.Y important! I can’t wait two words. I can’t wait one word!”
I think . . . seven administrators . . . fourteen eyes . . . seven really R.E.A.L.L.Y important people. And yet, I surrender to the wave, “Okay Linus. What is it? What is really R.E.A.L.L.Y important?”
And as serious as any five-year old can be, Linus bursts out, “Mrs. Aufin, how do you get whiskers on your legs?”
And with that, seven really R.E.A.L.L.Y important people couldn’t contain their laughter!