Wanted: 6-Year-Old Language Tutor
I don’t speak Kindergarten.
I have been testing and teaching Gifted and Talented students in elementary school for 13 years. Every January, when Kinder testing rolls around, I try a new communication strategy. And every year, I fail miserably.
My first couple of years, after I had been teaching 5th grade for 8 years, I cut myself some slack. Even after one little girl burst into tears after I asked them to write their names on their papers. Even after one little boy silently peed in his pants during the test because he somehow missed my request for anyone who needed a bathroom break.
I figured it would take me a little time to learn the Kindergarten dialect.
Last year, one of the parents told me that her child thought the entire time I was testing her that I was testing her for Speech. Another parent mentioned that her child thought I was the Principal.
So, this year, I thought I would try to do a better job of explaining what I do and why I’ve taken them from their class for a little while.
I told them that I teach the Gifted and Talented class. I asked them if they knew what that meant. They didn’t even move their heads, just stared at me bug-eyed, waiting for me to pull out some comical sock puppets like the counselor or to break out into a song from Dora the Explorer like – well, I don’t really know who would do that, but they seemed to expect some kind of entertainment.
I told them that I teach kids who like to do extra thinking. I said that we sometimes do thinking games in my class and we learn different ways to use our brains.
“Gifted and Talented means that you like to try to solve problems and that when something is hard you try to figure it out. Gifted and Talented is a class for students who like to think of new ideas. I like teaching Gifted and Talented because we get to do different types of puzzles and games. Sometimes, we invent things, too. I’ve been teaching Gifted and Talented for 13 years, and I love it.”
Silence. Well, not exactly. One child was busy trying to roll his pencil off of the desk and catch it. Another was obsessed with the fact that his shoelace wasn’t tied, and mumbling progressively louder to try to get my attention. One of the girls was digging inside her empty, borrowed desk looking for her pencil, which was on the floor beneath her chair.
“So, who remembers what I teach?”
Five hands went up. I nodded at one of the boys who seemed to be paying close attention during my speech.
“Kids. You teach kids.”
Yeah. I try.
Posted on January 11, 2012, in Humor, Work and tagged Gifted and Talented, humor, kids, Kindergarten, language, teaching, testing. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.
LOL… Its a conspiracy…. they are just trying to drive you crazy! Kids are like Collies…. I tell them to be good and they look at me with bug eyes for several seconds then go back to what they were doing… LOL…. Your doing a great job.. 🙂 They hear you.. dont worry they always hear you. They just choose not to respond.. 🙂
God Bless You! Great Post!
The Collies and Chuck:)
I agree, although I think Wonderbutt might understand me better than they do – and chooses to do the exact opposite!
That’s sweet 😀
Simplifying might be the key. The shorter sentences you use te better. As a foeign language teacher, I know hard it is to use extremely simple and dull sentences… at least, at the beginning.
Just smile and don’t give up ! 🙂
Apparently when I simplified that is when they somehow assumed I was the Principal. I guess I need to find a happy medium.
Haha! I told Lance someone is coming to test him and everyday he reports back so disappointed, “nobody is coming to get me to test me!!”. Kinder students are really funny though. Lance told me today that four people in his class told him he had a bloody nose and he kept insisting that he didn’t, and they kept insisting he did (because he had something red on his nose) and wanted him to blow it. He was so disgusted with them, that they didn’t even know what a bloody nose was.
That would seem to be odd medical advice if they really did think he had a bloody nose!
Impressed that your school system offers programming for gifted and talented. My Medium Fry makes straight 100’s on the state assessments, but there is no longer any gifted program. I hate public school here.
Really? I thought it was some kind of federal mandate to offer that! Guess I may be out of a job soon with all of our cutbacks…
I believe it. I volunteer in my daughter’s first-grade class every week and some of those kids can’t sit still long enough to write their names on their papers. Of course they couldn’t tell you what you do! Maybe you could have put it to music and had them dance around the room. ; )
They are awfully wiggly, aren’t they?
I love speaking Kindergarten, but the rules always change 🙂
My son was in the gifted and talented class one year then…next year, no more class. Not even any notification. Just gone.
That seems a little unfair!
I’m struggling to learn how to speak Preschool now. In my all girl Sunday school class nobody wanted to play Joseph so we had to create a new Bible character – Josephina.
Wow, that must have made the Christmas play interesting. How progressive of you!
I think all those shows that give kids tasks to do and ping them constantly have trained them to respond to constant requests, not being talked to. It might be that you have to emulate Dora.
“I’m the teacher, and X, Y and Z. Who can tell me X? Good. Who can tell me what was next? Good, Y is right. And who can tell me – yeah, Z! You’re catching on! Swiper, no swiping! Backpack! “
Can’t I just sing, “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map”?
I was cringing the whole way through that!
Well done with your dedication – I taught kinder classes for Chinese children. Wow, talk about a tough gig! – language AND attention span barriers.
Ugh! Those ones that pee (or worse) themselves and silently wait to be discovered are the worst…then I feel terrible because I think I must have been so intimidating they couldn’t tell me!!
At least when you finally discover these ‘gifted’ students you can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy teaching those that want to learn!
They are still wiggly even when they qualify!
Kindergarten? Oh, Mrs. Firepants, this is the stuff of my nightmares! Little kids are like bees and dogs: they smell fear and stomp on the weak.
Give me grade seven and up any day of the week!
Just a question, how often are they tested for the gifted programming? It should, to my mind, be something done every few years since many kids who are identified as high performers young have had a growth spurt in learning early and level out with their peers later.
It’s different in every district in Texas. Our district retests them in 3rd and at the end of 5th grade. The 5th grade testing is subject specific (for English and/or Math), and if they qualify they are in it until the end of high school as long as they maintain an 80 or above average.
So funny! One thing you can know for sure is…you never know what to expect when teaching children. Hugs
That is very true. I never know what to expect from dogs, either.
Your last line made me laugh out loud – thank you.
It made me laugh, too. Which probably confirmed their beliefs that I was a crazy lady.
I’m still working on adult english, tyvm.
Had to look that one up. Thanks for adding to my texting vocabulary (and acronym list).
I really laughed out loud at this. I used to teach first grade. My first day was a nightmare. I was pretty sure I’d taken a teaching position on another planet.
1st grade is only somewhat easier for me than Kindergarten. They are still quite squirmy at that age.
Aren’t kids wonderful? I think they’re adorable sometimes but most of the time I find them bothersome. I appluad you for teaching them for so long. I would have lost it after a few hours
I only work with the Kinders 2 1/2 hours a week – which is plenty. The true heroes are their classroom teachers!
Thank you for the giggles. Would be fun to see video of your talks.
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