Saturday, November 14, 2009

everything i need to know i learned in kindergarten

I have the bad habit of taking on the characteristics of the children I teach each year. Since I teach kindergartners and first graders with special needs this isn't something I brag about.

About 5 years ago I had a little girl who snorted whenever she was mad. After months of watching her huff, puff, and snort around the classroom, throw her body dramatically onto chairs, cross her arms and huff I must have picked up on it because whenever I was upset I had to fight the instinct to snort. In fact, sometimes, with my beloved husband (he wasn't my husband then- but he still married me, which says something) I wouldn't hold back on the snorting and huffing- it would come out in wordless frustration as I pouted like a small child until his laughing snapped me out of it.

One year I realized I'd started beginning every sentence with "even" like my English language learners. (As in, "Even I want to go to the store today!") I was aware my whole class began every sentence with "even" but as I was trying to break them of the habit apparently I started doing it myself when I was really tired, or trying to make an important point. ("Even I told you teachers should be given more respect!" right. )

Today we were at the mall- a horrible experience I dread with a passion. Not that I don't like shopping, I just don't really like doing it at the mall. So I was already not a happy camper, but then I had to go to the bathroom. No big deal, right. But the bathroom we found was closed for cleaning. So we trekked across the mall to the other bathroom. Also closed for cleaning. But I really had to go and really did not want to deal with all the crowds standing between me whatever bathroom was open. So, I pretended I couldn't read, marched into the bathroom (I mean, I can technically still use the bathroom when it's being cleaned, right?) where I was quickly stopped by a bathroom attendant. Without thinking (I'm not proud of this) I:

1) pretended I didn't speak English- "que? que?" I asked as she tried to tell me to leave.
2) crossed my legs, stuck my lip out, bent down and acted like it was an emergency. Yes- as a grown woman I apparently did the pee-pee dance.

SO not proud of myself.

Anyone who works with five and six year olds knows that kids are incredible actors when it comes to the bathroom. You say, "nope, no bathroom now, wait a few minutes" and they automatically cross their legs, scrunch their faces up, hop up and down, and say, "but it's an emergency" in their most pathetic voices. New teachers all fall for this once or twice before they wise up and realize that just because their students can't read doesn't mean they can't fake a good emergency.

The woman cleaning the bathroom clearly was not a new teacher. "Sorry" she said, pointed to the door, and went back to mopping.

I walked out, ashamed of myself and my pathetic 5 year old attempt to get my way. Maybe I need to hang around adults more often so I learn better coping skills.

1 comment:

The Science Goddess said...

Not to worry---we all speak kindergarten in the "wrong" places. I actually caught myself cautioning one of my cats to "make good choices" when it looked like he was about to jump another cat.