Well, two full days with my new sprouts and I’m more certain than ever I was born to teach kindergarten. Maybe that sounds silly, but it’s just how I feel. These kids come in, so eager and excited about school and look to me for every cue. Me. Who the heck am I to take on such a responsibility?
I must confess, during our Open House (two hours when they come with their parents for a tour, story, craft, and snack), I had a ‘I’m not cut out to do this’ moment. I doubted myself. It made me nervous, but then, upon reflection, I realized, a little humility is probably a good thing when you work with five-year-olds.
After my first full day, feeling exhausted after herding cats for hours, I also felt an overwhelming sense of contentment. With more than a few years of kindergarten experience under my belt, I know the first day is always the hardest. I’d made it through, rather successfully.
Of course, like most victories, the win wasn’t mine alone. A big part of my feeling so grateful has to do with my new school. With children finally present in my classroom, the true nature of this new place I now call home came to light. This is one pretty amazing school.
Maybe it’s the smallness, or perhaps it’s the folks who have chosen to work here, but the teamwork, community, and absolute feeling of family was palpable.
At lunchtime, when I was trying to help my friends get their trays, silverware, and settled in, who was there helping from the get-go? My principal. And the guidance counselor. And a few special ed teachers. And some other grownups I don’t even know yet. Well it was the first day for kindergarten… But wait. They were all there the second day too. This is clearly an all hands on deck type of school. These children – ALL of them – are ALL our responsibility. Wow.
On day two, something else amazing happened. Hugs and helpers.
I had one or two hugs on day one, but by day two, they were coming fast and furiously. By the end of the day, as I passed out folders one by one, each child gave me a squeeze. When a little girl who speaks no English took her folder, smiled, and then wrapped her arms around my neck with a fervor she probably usually reserved for her Abeula, my heart melted just a little.
I also had two fifth grade helpers come down at dismissal. These two girls, so grown up, took over, helping me with buses, walkers, and just being so sweet and kind to me, knowing I’m new, it also – melted my heart just a little.
As I try to rest up and prepare for the first full five day week, I’m feeling like this new little school and everyone in it was just waiting for me… and I’m so grateful to finally be there.