School started a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday was the first day I actually had kids in my room. I'm the computer teacher, and that means that the first two weeks are spent doing miscellaneous tasks in preparation for the coming onslaught, commonly known as the one hundred and eighty instructional days of the traditional school year. I lift boxes. I fix things, mostly things with plugs but not exclusively. I plug things in or unplug them as the situation demands. I lift more boxes. I move boxes that had previously been lifted. Install a printer. Defrag a hard drive. Lift more boxes.
And then, just so I don't forget the essential piece of my job: cover a classroom while a teacher gives their students initial placement assessments. That was a nice way to re-introduce myself to the kids who had been coming to my class for the past two years. Then there was Kindergarten.
There is a special place in Valhalla for those collected souls who choose to teach our smallest children. I'm a parent, and I love kids, but a room full of them who have just begun to speak and eat and be in groups will always be a challenge, especially at the beginning of a school year. For the record, I only made three of them cry, and not the ones I expected to. The ones who burst into tears were the ones who happened to be sitting near the object of my attention: "Roger, quit rolling on the rug," I asserted in my Mister Caven voice, and Julie fell apart. Now I had a sobbing five year old girl and a boy who continued to flop tirelessly across the multi-colored surface. I could see Teddy's lip start to quiver as I turned a hard eye past him toward Sally who has crawled under his desk. So very fragile.
Until they are unleashed on the playground, where suddenly they become fearless adventurers, monsters, bunnies and princesses. All of that order placed on their chaotic little minds feels like torture, I'm sure, and I wish that I could simply let them run around their imaginary landscapes for hours at a time. But the bell always rings, and it's time to go back inside, where Mister Caven will try and get everyone to sing the first third of the alphabet song with him one more time. If it means you have to roll on the rug a little, that will be fine. You're only five once.