As a (temporary) 1st grade teacher, I am finding myself stifling giggles several times a day. It usually occurs in the hallway, while I watch the frazzled kindergarten teachers try to ride herd on 27 brand spanking new students while I file past with my 18 seasoned firsties. As my students line up to dump our trays in an orderly fashion, I have to hide my grin as the kindergartners dump their forks in the trash 9 times out of 10.
Walking in a line? A concept never before heard of by those 4 and 5 year old cuties. They straggle behind, stretching the line across the entire primary wing, touching walls, twirling and skipping. Meanwhile, I just have to say "Show me procedure." to get my firsties into a line a drill sergeant would be proud of!
As my fellow teachers get accused of "ignoring" one child in a class of 27 (what?! my child isn't getting your one on one attention?! what kind of teacher are you?!) I have spent one on one time with all my firsties today - be it only for a minute or two at a time. I know all of their names, and have a good idea of their personalities - who to sit them next to and who to separate them from! (not a hard task since I've had 6 of them in my class before ;)
The first kindergarten writing samples look like Rorschach ink blots while my firsties produce actual sentences with punctuation!!! Cutting and gluing in kindergarten? A nightmare with 6 kids squished into tables designed for 4! My firsties are swimming in room - we have empty seats at 2 of our tables! Indoor recess (due to heat index) is impossible with 27 squirming little bodies crammed into a space more suited to 20. Meanwhile my firsties were doing puzzles, reading (while seated on my oh so comfy crates!) and building with blocks. Two of my students even created a petting zoo for the farm animal math manipulatives, to which they charged admission from the interlocking gingerbread kids!
My kindergarten friend said "I don't remember last year being this hard." to which I replied "Do you even remember the first 2 weeks of school last year? Of course not, it's the teacher equivalent of giving birth. If we remembered it we'd never do it again!" After school I watched as my other kindergarten friend ate a handful of Hershey's kisses in a vain attempt to artificially boost her serotonin levels to deal with the stress of 25 high pitched voices, all chiming "Teacher! Teacher!" at once! Meanwhile I was able to survive on just 1/2 a Diet Pepsi today - no real need for it as I relaxed my day away with my attentive firsties (they can sit through an entire story!)
In short, my 2nd day as a first grade teacher went surprisingly well! Which is not to say that I wouldn't switch back to kindergarten in a New York minute! We are waiting out the first 10 days of school to see where the final numbers fall. Part of me would hate to lose my fabulous firsties, but the other part longs for those tiny kinder kiddos, so full of curiosity and enthusiasm. And, of course, the hard part of breaking in all those kinders will be done for me if I do get moved back! I am torn between hoping for more kinders to show up tomorrow, and hoping that they don't just so I can stay in first this year! I guess I will stop caring either way, and just try not to seem too happy when I pass my kindergarten cohorts in the halls!