Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I was going over in my head what I plan to do for the first day of the writing class I’m teaching at the charter school. The first day will be next Tuesday and it will be a group of 5th through 7th graders. I was wondering what I should have them call me. It seems like the only thing anyone calls me is Nana but that’s not really appropriate for a class to call me. It crossed my mind that I could joke with them and tell them to call me  Hey You then my mind jumped backward to the time I was in kindergarten. I got dismissed before my siblings but we were all supposed to walk home together so when I got out of class I would sneak into the building where the other classes were but then I got caught and they said I couldn’t wait there so I would then go downstairs in the same building to my sister’s class. She was in first grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Baker, would let me come into the classroom and wait for my sister then when she got out, Mrs. Baker would let us both stay in her room until our older brother got out then we would all walk home together.

I liked Mrs. Baker. She was nice to us and she would let us help her clean the chalk board and  put the chairs up on the tables so the floor could be swept. She told me I should not be shy and that I should call her Mrs. Baker but somehow I couldn’t call her that so I would just say “hey” until I got her attention. She used to laugh and she would say that if I didn’t start calling her Mrs. Baker, she would start calling me Joey. I used to use my middle name at the time. My middle name is Joy. So Mrs. Baker started calling me Joey every time I said “hey” to her. I would tell her “My name is not Joey, it’s Joy.” She would answer, “My name is not Hey, it’s Mrs. Baker.” Eventually, I caught on and called her Mrs. Baker and she called me Joy.

That ancient memory brought a big smile. I had all but forgotten it over the past 50 plus years. I’m glad I remembered it.

The #WeeklySmile is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Trent at Trent’s World The Blog. Go on over and take a look. Share a smile with us!

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Last week, although he loved school, Anderson did have one instance in which he was sort of reprimanded by the teacher.  He says she was talking and he was talking and she told him not to talk so he stopped.  We asked him who he was talking to and he said “to myself”.  I had to laugh at that.  I had told his mom that they should talk to him before he started school and tell him what was appropriate for kindergarten and what was not. Kindergarten is real school and he’s not used to that. He’s used to preschool where they pretty much “suggested’ that he do things and if he didn’t want to, it was okay. Kindergarten isn’t like that!

The talking to himself is interesting, too.  When he first started Head Start the year before last, the teacher was concerned because he was too quiet.  She said he didn’t talk to anyone and he didn’t  “pretend play” she had him checked out by the district psych staff.  Of course, when they observed him one-on-one, he was fine.  They were actually very impressed with how advanced he was for his age.  The 2 hour observation period was cut short after just a half hour because they felt it was not necessary.  He was, since then, encouraged to “pretend” and talk to himself in his pretending.  He’s gotten quite good at it.  He plays a game on the Kindle tablet called Mixels.  It’s a Lego program in conjunction with the Cartoon Network.  The good guys are Mixels.  They’re colorful and each has a different power.  The bad guys are tiny figures that are multi-powered and are black.  They are called Nixels.  The Nixels chase the Mixels all over and they gang up on the Mixels.

Anderson’s thing now is that when we are someplace and there are a lot of people around that we don’t know, he says they are Nixels coming after us and we have to hurry and get out of there!  He pretends to talk to the Mixels.  He does it all the time. I think he was probably talking to the Mixels when the teacher asked him not to talk.  He doesn’t quite understand why he can’t talk to Mixels when he needs to get away from the Nixels (which is really anyone he doesn’t know and he doesn’t know anyone in the class).  His mom and dad didn’t have that talk with him.  I guess I’ll have to be the bad guy and talk to him about that.

I think it’s going to be an interesting time getting used to kindergarten and real school!

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Tomorrow is the first day of school here.  I can imagine how excited kids are, whether they are happy to return to school or not, to make that trip to school tomorrow.  I was sitting here thinking of the night before I started kindergarten.

When I was little, we lived on Seventh Street about five blocks from Horace Mann Elementary School.  Before i started school, my sisters and I would go stand outside the front of the house with my mom as she watched my older siblings walk to school.  We could just stand on the sidewalk and wait and watch as they got further and further from us, closer and closer to school.  In the afternoon, we’d go wait outside to watch as they got closer and closer to us.

I used to wonder what school was like and what the people there were like.  I knew that at home we spoke Spanish all the time but when my brothers were home from school, they spoke English to each other.  Little by little I learned to speak English too but at home, with my parents, we spoke Spanish.  I wondered what it would be like at school where everyone spoke only English.

Good things came from going to school.  When my brothers came home from school, they would bring books and papers with them.  I didn’t know how to read but I loved looking at the books.  I loved looking at the pictures and at the strange letters that my brothers said were sentences that meant things.  I wasn’t used to books at home.  We didn’t have them.  My mom had a Bible and there was a big phone book but we didn’t have regular books.  My father read the newspaper when he got home from work so I knew he could read and that it was interesting to read because my dad would get so caught up in what the newspaper said that he often forgot we were sitting next to him waiting to play with him because we had missed him all day long while he was at work.

I remember too that my mother used to get magazines in the mail.  I remember Look and Life magazines.  They were big, especially to a child, they were oversized magazines with a lot of pictures  in them.  I liked looking at those pictures and I wished that I knew how to read but my mom said I couldn’t learn to read until I went to school.  So I looked forward to going to school so I could learn to read.

I remember the day before I started kindergarten.  I was so excited!  I got to wear a new dress that the lady next door had made for me.  I had new shoes and pretty new white socks with pink ruffles at the top.  My uncle lived with us then and I remember sitting at the red formica table in the kitchen, excitedly talking to my uncle Joe about going to school.  I wanted him to tell me what it would be like and what I would have to do.  I was afraid that the teacher might say something to me that I wouldn’t understand because although I did speak English, there were a lot of words I didn’t know.  My uncle said there would be a lot of time to play and the teacher would read stories to the class.  He said I would get to draw pictures and then he said I had to be careful to write my name on my papers so the teacher would know that they were mine and I would get them back.

I froze.  I couldn’t say anything.  I just sat there with tears in my eyes looking at Uncle Joe.  He asked me what was wrong.  Why was I crying?  I pretended there was nothing wrong but he knew something was upsetting me.  In the end I told him that I couldn’t write my name on my papers because I didn’t know how.  He laughed and said he would teach me how to write my name.  That afternoon, Uncle Joe and I sat at the kitchen table and he taught me to say the alphabet, which I hadn’t know before that day.  Then he showed me how to write each letter.  Finally, when I had learned how to make each of the letters, he taught me how to write my name.  Letter by letter, he taught me to write C-O-R-I-N-A.  By the end of a couple of hours, I was very happy because I knew I would be ready to go to kindergarten the next day.

The next morning, I waited impatiently on the front sidewalk as my brothers and my older sister walked to school.  My mom and my sisters and I watched from there and I could not wait until I would be walking home with my brothers and sister that afternoon after my first day at afternoon kindergarten!

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