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What Arnold Schwarzenegger and I Have in Common

scene from Kindergarten Copphoto from:

scene from Kindergarten Cop
photo from:

I used to be scared of Kindergarteners.  I teach gifted students, so this means I have students in K-5 at various times during the week.  But I started my teaching career with 5th graders for 8 years.  Once I began my current position several years ago, I hummed right along – until January rolled around and I started testing Kindergartners for the program.  That is when I realized that my piddly experience with mouthy pre-teens with raging hormones was simple compared to spending an hour with a bunch of 5-year-olds who haven’t quite gotten the handle on their bodily functions yet.  

Over the years, I have grown to accept that absolutely nothing goes the way I planned with my Kinders.  Instead of fighting their unpredictable divergences from my lesson plans, I’ve started joining in on their wild rides, and I’m finding it to be a whole lot of fun.

This year, I have a group of five Kinders, and their conversations are just as entertaining as last year’s batch.  I usually start the class with “Share Time”, so they can get their news out of their system.  They are dying to tell me about their father’s uncle’s nephew’s birthday or the tooth they lost, or the tooth they’re going to lose even though it’s not even loose yet.  But there’s one student who always likes to deliver a different kind of news:

“Okay, who has something to share today?”  5 hands go up.

“So, let’s start with Richard, and we’ll go around the table.”

“I have a soccer game tonight!”

“I do, too,” says Jacob.

“Is that what you wanted to share, Jacob?”  Jacob nods.

“Well, I hope you both have great games!  What about you, Lauren?”

“I have a wiggly tooth.  And I love to draw.”

“Fabulous!  Marie?”

“I went to my father’s cousin’s birthday party yesterday.”

“Oh?  What did you do at the party?”

“Well, we found a cockroach in the garbage can.”

“Hmm, you guys sure do play different games than I did when I was a kid.  Alex, what did you want to share?”

“Wel-l-l-l,” he draws it out with great emphasis,  “I learned that there’s one good thing about cancer.”  Big pause.  Deep breath.  “It’s not contagious.”

Silence.  The soccer players stare at Alex with slightly open mouths, and I try to think of an appropriate response.

“Gosh, Alex.  I never thought about it that way.  That is a silver lining, for sure.  Thanks for pointing that out.”

This is the way it always goes with Alex.  So far, we’ve learned that brains stop growing when you are in your teens, ladybugs chew from side to side instead of up and down, and that leprechauns used to live but now they are extinct.  (We may need to have a small talk about reliable sources on the internet.)  I’m a bit worried about Alex.  Actually, I’m a bit worried about me.  I’m probably going to be teaching this student for the next 5 years and, other than the internet source thing, I think I’ve already maxed out on the actual knowledge I’m going to be able to impart to him.

Yep – teaching 28 5th graders was a whole lot easier.

Let’s Try This Again

I am very disappointed in you guys. And, you should not interpret this as any kind of projection of the disappointment in myself that I might be feeling due to the fact that my computer crashed this weekend and I hadn’t backed it up yet.

I just took a gander at my 2012 resolutions for all of you, and you have sadly fallen short on your goals.

The fact that, according to my trusty Googleometer, Toddlers and Tiaras just started a new season shows a blatant defiance of at least three of the resolutions I laid out for you guys. Since I have not read about any recent adult human zoo exhibitions, I guess I can only assume that you have so many samples to choose from, that you cannot decide who would be the best person to stick inside an enclosure.

I am happy to see that you followed my directive to not vote for Donald Trump. Thanks for throwing me that little bone, at least.

I guess no doctors read my blog, as the resolution to see your patients on time does not seem to have been adhered to, according to my sources. And you didn’t cure cancer. As that was really the only goal directly related to saving people’s lives, and technically only had to be accomplished by one person to satisfy the demand, I have to say I am really bummed that that one got no traction.

In retrospect, I guess you could say that I probably overreached a bit with last year’s list. So, this year, I’m just going to give you one thing to do. Well, actually two.

I’m rolling over the cancer curing command. And even though I am erasing the rest of last year’s list, I would like to gently suggest that it will probably be a little more difficult to accomplish this if you are wasting your time watching Toddlers and Tiaras.

Número two-o is to back up your computer. And this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I just lost my favorite recipe for Nestlé chocolate chip cookies as related to me by Phoebe Buffay when my own computer committed Hari Kari a couple of days ago.

The truth is, if you discover the cure for cancer, and your computer crashes and you have no backup, you’re going to be pretty upset with yourself.

Or so I would imagine.

PS – I can’t figure out how to caption pictures using my iPad WordPress app. And this was one of the few pictures in my photo library I could include. So, I’m sorry that it has nothing to do with my post. But I’m working with a handicap here, so I hope you will cut me some slack. Even though I didn’t cut you any.

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