This picture of me was drawn by a budding portrait artist in my classroom.
What more can I say?
I am flattered.
I’m ecstatic. I know all of my students’ names.
Well, at least today I do.
Please don’t ask me outside of the classroom if a particular child is a morning or afternoon student, because that is a question I probably won’t be able to answer just yet. Some things will take a little extra time.
I have many students with names that start with the same sound. Imagine having a *Cindy, Sarah, Suzy, Savannah, Sandy and Saul in one class, for example. Maybe it is just me, but my brain starts to mix up those names. I will say Michael when I mean Matthew, and I will say Jessica when I mean Jennifer.
I also have many names that sound similar like McKenzie and McKenna, for example. This is yet another speed bump for my brain and more names to stumble over.
Add to those obstacles the chance that I might call a student by their older sibling’s name, and it is amazing that I can correctly learn any child’s name, ever.
But I have done it.
Now the goal is to remember all of their names for the next school day.
Keeping in mind, of course, that on most mornings I have to run back into the house to grab my forgotten lunch.
*All the names used in this post are fictional and not the actual names of any of my students.
Near the end of the school year my director purchased a nice storage box for our outdoor sand toys. We moved the sand toys from the depths of the storage shed out to our brand new box. We unearthed a few treasures, and some interesting pieces.
Such as a watering can that looks a little like this:
Except that our version is kind of creepy, in a beat up, 30-year-old sort of way. Since it is a watering can, there is a hole at the back of the head and the hat is the spout. It is one strange looking thing, and if I dwell on it too long I might have nightmares.
Anyway, when we cleaned out the toys I just didn’t have the heart to toss it out. Maybe I was having a little nostalgia for those strange, little and blue cartoon creatures at that particular moment, who knows.
Fast forward to the next school day.
Prince Valiant, an observant, verbal and imaginative student of mine was digging through the sand toys looking for something to play with. Suddenly he stopped, pointed at the Smurf head watering can, looked at me, and asked with a hint of disgust “What is that?!?”
I picked it up and replied that it was a Smurf. Prince Valiant’s precocious response was “I know it’s a Smurf.”
Then he paused to think a little, and firmly added “It’s a Smurf head!”
I laughed and asked him if he thought it was creepy as I dropped it back in the box.
He agreed that it was creepy, but then he looked at me quite seriously and asked in a very stern voice “Did you chop off that Smurf’s head and put it in that box?”
I reassured him that no, I did not chop off the Smurf’s head and put it in the toy box, while desperately trying not to laugh.
I was confident that he was satisfied with my answer, since he headed back to play in the sandbox.
My confidence did not last long because when he arrived at the sandbox he announced to his playmates that the teacher (me) had chopped off a Smurf’s head and put it in the toy box.
A few of the kids just gave him a look as if to say “Dude, what the heck is a Smurf?”, and the rest just went about their play .
And that my friends, is the Legend of the Smurf Head, according to Prince Valiant anyway.
I still declare my innocence.
The small steps of progress by the children in my classroom often bring me the greatest joy.
~The child who has written the last letter of his/her name backward suddenly has it going the right direction.
~The child who cannot write his/her name, starts writing the first letter of that name on each piece of artwork.
~The child who asks me how to draw a person, and then draws his/her own person for the very first time.
~The child who has learned to zip his/her coat and chooses to share his/her enthusiasm with us.
~The children painting with letter shaped cookie cutters purposefully turning the cookie cutters so that the letters face the correct direction.
~The children who have avoided the art and writing tables because of fine motor difficulties are beginning to try the activities.
~The child who shows me that he/she knows how to read and/or write a few words that we’ve talked about in class.
~The child who comforts a classmate who is sad or hurt.
~The child who shares because he/she wants to, not because he/she was told to.
~The child who finishes the floor jigsaw puzzle by his/herself.
~The child who self-corrects and tries again while completing an activity, using a skill learned in class.
~The children who weren’t ready to talk to me are beginning to share a thought or two, a smile, and a small connection.
~The child who makes a gift for someone because he/she knows it will make that someone smile.
We are halfway through our preschool year and their small steps will walk us through the rest of our days together, when they’ll take the huge leap into kindergarten. With each group of children I teach, I am always amazed by how much they learn and grow during the year they are at our preschool.
I “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I rejoice in it.
How do you transition?
Do you scream? Do you yell?
Do you stomp off and cry?
Do you do what you’re told and don’t ask why?
Do you even try?
Do you come when you’re called? Or do you hide?
Do you say something snide?
Do you keep it all bottled up inside?
Are you helpful? Are you thoughtful?
Are you mean or quite possibly awful?
Are you mad? Are you sad?
Or does this all make you glad?
Are you bad?
Do you stop and think? Or stare and blink?
Or is your excitement just on the brink?
Do you smile?
Or do you frown for a while?
Do you cross your arms and glare with style?
Do you anticipate what’s coming up?
Or maybe you just want to give up?
Do you kick? Do you hit?
Do you throw a fit?
Do you sit?
It’s a hard job as you can see,
To conduct the Preschool Transitioning Melody.