Diary of a Teacher's First Year

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 06 2011

The Dust Collecters and Shoe Lace Eaters

I’ve been a Kindergarten teacher for 7 weeks. These 30 five year olds have pretty much taken over my life. Luckily, they are super adorable and when they are not trying to eat their shoelaces or throw a chair at me…they are very lovable.

It’s amazing how insecure a 5 year old could make you feel about your teaching skills. The first hour of each morning is Reading Comprehension…which is basically just a read a loud. This morning was one of my fav children’s stories, Yoko, about a Japanese girl who gets made fun of because she brings sushi for lunch but then all of her friends realizethat they love sushi too and it’s okay to try new things. I was putting on a great show for these kids…I did my best impressions of voices, I walked around the room to make sure every single student could see the pictures, I read with great expression, and I preplanned interesting questions ….I imagined a great discussion to emerge about learning tolerance for difference and being kind to others.

A few pages into the story, I looked around the room at the top of childrens heads as they were playing with their shoelaces, collecting piles of dust on the floor, and the newest form of enjoyment in my classroom—pulling the thread out of their uniform sweater, biting it off with their teeth, and poking the child next to them with it like it’s a small sword.

I was feeling a lil better when I saw Jabari raising a very enthusiastic hand to answer a question…but then realized that he had no idea what I was talking about and just wanted to ask if he could go to the garbage to throw out the large collection of dust he had been collecting for the past ten minutes. I allowed him to throw it away so it wouldn’t be a distraction anymore. Big mistake. Every other dust collecter put up their hand, not to answer my questions, but to ask to go to the garbage. NO, NO, NO YOU CAN NOT! In my fury I came up with a new class rule: you are only allowed to interrupt a read aloud for an emergency. I clearly defined what an an emergency is in our room — bleeding (chapped lips or a preexisting cut does not count), about to vomit, or someone is hurting you.

Thank goodness these kids are cute…and hilarious. Jabari didn’t just ask to throw away his lil dust bunnies–he called it “rubbish” …a word they learned from a story we read last week. Apparently, they do listen to me… SOMETIMES! :)

5 Responses

  1. aea107

    this sounds SO MUCH like my pre-k classroom. read alouds are so hard sometimes! even when they seem to like the book. ugh.

  2. Anna

    When I was reading chapter books to my pre-K sons, I found they could listen a lot longer if I gave them something to do with their hands — crayons and paper, legos or play dough. One of them liked to throw and catch a baseball while he listened (he was in grade school by then).

  3. egordon

    I. Hate. Shoelaces.

    Also, my “carpet” is just a giant puzzle mat so instead of lint collectors I have carpet dissemblers.

  4. Andrew

    Perhaps you should let the kids be your guide. If they are more interested in dust than in the story, maybe you should talk about dust. Or talk about what they think is cool about dust. Or just let them get up and throw their lint away when they want to as long as they aren’t obnoxious. Respect starts where respect is given.

  5. yankeesfan2

    Your post made me smile because we try so hard to plan these great lessons and the dust ends up beating us out for attention.

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