My daughter started kindergarten last year, so I have had a front row seat to the circus that is kindergarten on the first week of school. And I am here to tell you that those kindergarten teachers are absolute saints. They are the unsung heroes of our society. They bring smiles and hugs and joy and energy and relentless patience to our babies every day. Here are a few reasons why I think kindergarten teachers pretty much hung the moon.
These men and women are actually able to gain the attention of an entire room full of children with little more than a gesture. I’m not kidding. I walked into my daughter’s kindergarten class and students were cleaning up centers (i.e. running in all different directions like tiny feral kittens), and at a simple rhyme from teacher about stopping and cleaning up, every single one of those children put their toys away and sat on the rug. Mind blown. I can barely control my two children, and this woman just herded 22 cat-children like it was nothing. Hero status.
They handle cafeteria duty like a champ. There are endless lunch boxes to be opened, cheese sticks to be unwrapped, juice boxes to be punctured, and thermoses to be unscrewed. These teachers enter the cafeteria like the troops storming Normandy and begin assisting all of our babies. All of whom, by the way, are acting like they haven’t eaten in a month. And they do it all with a smile and a whole bunch of grace. And then—get ready for it—one of them is able to gain the attention of the entire grade level. Eighty-five children are listening to what she says, and nobody is spinning or jumping or kicking or spitting or so crawling on the floor. Sorcery, I tell you.
They offer emotional lifelines to their students. They handle sadness about missing mommy. They offer hugs, reassuring smiles, shoulder squeezes, and encouragement when needed most, all day long. They win the love of every child in the room. No matter their level of fatigue or frustration, they always seem willing to take a moment to give each child what they need from an emotional standpoint. They provide the nurturing necessary for the children to continue learning. They love your babies like they love their own, and they do it all day long. All day long, people. And I seldom see them without a smile.
They are mastermind multitaskers. They’re teaching phonics, breaking up fights, listening to endless stories, sending children to the nurse, and counting lunch boxes. They’re reading to the class and teaching social skills. They’re answering emails from every new parent who is struggling with the transition to public school, and you know what? They’re doing all of these things and more for hours after the school day has come to a close and before they go home to their own families.
They are teaching your children to read. To READ. Reading is the foundation for every academic skill out there, and these teachers are teaching it like it ain’t no thing.
They’re able to teach 18 children to walk quietly down the hallway with their hands behind their backs. This must be witchcraft; that’s the only explanation I can accept. I don’t understand it. The last time I tried to walk a small group of children down the hallway quietly, three ran ahead of me, all devil-may-care, and one disappeared up the elevator. And none of them were quiet. These people have crowd-control skills rivaling the best bouncers in the industry.
Dismissal. If you’ve ever been in a kindergarten classroom as the day comes to a close, you know exactly where I’m going with this. Getting each child safely where he or she needs to go at the end of the day is nothing short of a miracle. It’s like a mosh pit of folders and jackets and backpacks, and these teachers are not panicking. How they are not rocking in the corner is beyond me, and yet they ensure that each and every one of their students makes it where he or she needs to be. Day after day after day. Oh, yeah —and they do this RAIN OR SHINE. I’m talking standing in the pick-up line for 30 minutes in the pouring rain.
They pour their hearts, souls, and financial resources into our children. Take a drive by any school parking lot an hour or so after dismissal—you know what you’ll see? They are still at school. Long after they’ve hugged their students goodbye, they are still working to ensure your child has the best possible opportunities for success. They’re stocking their rooms with extra school supplies and flexible seating options. They are filling their drawers with extra snacks for the child who comes to class hungry. They are giving, giving, and giving. They are altruistic angels.
Seriously, these teachers deserve a cult following. They are nothing short of even-tempered miracle workers. Day in and day out, they work tirelessly to turn our sweet little babies into conscientious students. And in the words of my daughter, “they are so, so nice, and I really love them all.”
So, if you have a child in kindergarten, spoil that teacher rotten. Send her notes of encouragement and listen to his valuable insights about your child. Hear her out, even if what she has to say is difficult to hear. Offer to change the bulletin boards or make copies. Bring him Starbucks. Stop at Sonic. Clean his house. BUY her a house. Kidding, kidding. But really—respect these fabulous teachers. I know I do.