The uniform of a kindergarten teacher is a curious thing. As a teacher, I want to command respect and wear clothes that show my reverence for my students and job. On the other hand, as a kindergarten teacher, I’m moving, dancing, stretching, kneeling (a lot!), running, bending, and sitting in all manner of ways.

Much of my day is spent on the floor. The floor of a kindergarten classroom is not a sanitary place. Glitter, glue, paper scraps, and God knows what else falls to the floor each day before our saintly custodian fastidiously cleans it each evening.

With so much movement and potential stain inducing elements, what’s a guy to do?

There is no formal dress code at my school, but the basic unwritten rule is no jeans except for Fridays. I’m not sure what is different about my teaching on Fridays that allows for jeans on that day only, but I take it for what it is and relish my chance to wear comfortable pants one day a week.

The other day, I was working with a small group of sprouts on letter identification. We each had a small white board and dry erase marker. I was writing and erasing, calling out letters, modeling handwriting, and watching my friends work closely. As often happens in a small group setting, I was not stationary for long. In my moving here and there to get a good look, work hand over hand, and give everyone the attention they needed, my purple (why oh why did I use purple?) dry erase marker swiped against my thigh.

As I looked down at the offending mark on my khaki pants (alas, it wasn’t a Friday), my first thought was, ‘Ah, who cares? It’ll wash out.’

Little did I know, dry erase marker does not wash out of khaki pants. I even bought some supposedly magic stain removing concoction. Nothing worked. I actually washed my pants three times in one day, something I’ve never done before in my life. The stain faded only slightly, but it’s still there, clear as day.

Those khaki pants were not cheap. You don’t throw away khaki pants due to a purple dry erase stain when you earn a kindergarten teacher’s salary. It’s no Purple Heart, but when I wear those pants now and glance down at the blemish, I look at it as my own medal for the work I do each day.