This picture of me was drawn by a budding portrait artist in my classroom.
What more can I say?
I am flattered.
During the first two weeks of preschool we really emphasize the importance of proper hand washing.
We read the book Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting but…Invisible Germs by Judith Anne Rice. This is a wonderful book with great illustrations on what an earache germ, a headache germ, a sore throat germ, a fever germ and the most downright disgustingest germ of all, the throw up germ, just might look like. Rosa, the smart little girl in the book, knows how to get rid of those terrible germs and she sends them whirling, twirling down the drain. We read this book over and over again.
We practice coughing and sneezing into our elbow. We show how germs spread by using glitter and shaking hands. We talk about the proper steps for hand washing. You know the drill… wet, soap, scrub (sing a little song), rinse and dry. We are even growing germy bread for a science experiment.
What is germy bread? It’s a slice of bread (preferably one that doesn’t have preservatives) which everyone in the class touches with their dirty, moist little hands. Gross, right? Wait a week, and then you can be completely downright disgusted by those not-so invisible germs.
We should have those germs well under control, right?
Except that I’m the one who now has the sore throat germ, the headache germ, and the earache germ.
Irony, preschool style.
On Monday, I will not be surprised if I get asked by a student if I forgot to wash my hands.
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.
The week before the new school year begins, I receive my very important class lists. These lists contain the names of my 20 students in the morning, and my 20 students in the afternoon, give or take a few, depending upon enrollment.
While some of the names are familiar because they are repeat students or repeat families, most of the names are completely new to me.
I hold my lists in my hands and look closely at the names and try to picture what these children might look like, how they might act or how I will ever learn to pronounce or even spell their names.
The lists are a clean slate for me. These classes will create a unique story for this school year. I relish this thought.
Then it’s almost a dreamy, blissful, wishful state of mind that I enter.
It will be a great year, these children will line up, they will sit for group, they will be brilliant, they will be kind to one another and they will, of course, adore me.
I will remember their parents names, their siblings names, and what part of town they live in.
I will have the best preschool year yet!
I enjoy that feeling of hopefulness. I am, after all, an optimist.
Those lists make me feel like I am actually holding a great school year in the palm of my hand.
Let the new school year begin!