It’s Naht A Toomah

Kindergarten Cop 1990

Working with people is hard.
You’ve met people, right?
I mean…I’m people.
I’m with me all day every day, and frankly I don’t know how I stand it.

Today my task was to work with twenty people from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Twenty is a reasonable number.
Twenty five-year-olds who spend eight hours a day together every day?

“Will you sub kindergarten on Friday, November 1st?”
*I’ve subbed kindergarten a few times, and though it’s not my favorite, yeah–I’m open that day.** Book it.

Flipping pages in the planner: OH $%*t. That’s the day after Halloween.
*Maybe I’ll cancel…….no. That’s simply not who you are.*

So I spent eight hours with twenty five-year-olds with remnants of clown makeup under their eyes and the overdose of sugar still coursing through their veins.
(There were TEN teachers absent from that school today. Mine has been planned for ages, so they aren’t all sick days. Those teachers are no fools.)

Over the course of the day…
*R* cried once when his finger got pinched in a drawer.
*T* cried twice: once from an accidental collision and once from playground injustice.
*E* cried three times–all upon returning from recess. Playground injustice runs rampant.
*J* cried once from an accidental collision.
*A* cried for being yelled at by *K* for accidentally colliding with *J*.
And I am 98% sure I’m forgetting someone…

I don’t remember so many tears in kindergarten….though it’s been a lifetime.

The other thing about kindergartners–and many levels of elementary school, but ESPECIALLY kindergartners–is they will be CERTAIN to tell you EXACTLY how something is SUPPOSED to be done and how you are doing it is WRONG. And then another kindergartener will turn to THAT kindergartner and EXPLAIN that “it is okay because she’s a different teacher and it might be different.”
**Thanks, second kid.**

There’s a whole bunny trail here on the importance of routine, but I’ll save it for another day.

This is about working with people.

People are jerks.
People are selfish.
People are clumsy and back their chair into your head when you’re bending down for something and they are standing up, and it’s all wrong-place-wrong-time, but it happened and now your head hurts and you’re crying, and everyone else is looking at you, and another person already has the ONLY ice pack, so add insult to injury, and dammit, people are the worst.

And people apologize.
And people offer hugs of comfort.
And people offer to share the ice pack even though it’s not cold anymore, so it’s really a symbolic gesture, but it’s a gesture nonetheless, so you hold the warm icepack on your forehead and calm down.

The hugs and apologies gave me some hope today, but then they were all metaphorically biting one another’s heads off twenty minutes later.

So where does this leave us?
Without those other people, there’d have been no injury.
Without those other people, there’d have been no comfort.

So I guess we’re all in this mess together.

So strive to be the comforters.
Offer the hugs and the help.
Oh…and a reminder to breathe almost always does the trick.
In through the nose.
Out on a sigh.

PS–if you are able to bless a kindergarten teacher in your community in some way today, there are men and women across the country who CHOSE this work for their EVERY day. And I have no doubt that it’s not just as challenging for them. Be the hug and the help they need to make it possible to come back again the next day.

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