As much as I enjoy teaching, I know my limitations: I could never teach kindergarten. Sure, I can do it for fifty minutes at a time when they come to my computer lab and I have a room full of lights and sounds to distract them from all the tiny details of life for which they are so endlessly curious. Not to mention that they have the attention span of a kindergartener. Like kittens and puppies, their relative cuteness keeps them from being completely annoying, but the poking and prodding and squeals of "I gotta use it!" in the middle of what I would normally consider a riveting lecture on the importance of the letters S and T overwhelm me at times.
Not so with the men and women who teach our youngest every day. Many of those kids come to our schools without the leg up of a year or two of preschool. Hands and feet to yourself might as well be calculus for some of them, and oh by the way could you begin their formal math and language arts training while you're at it? Saints, that's what these people are.
I met one of our resident saints on the way in the other morning. She was carrying a goldfish in a plastic cup. She told me, as if it were my concern, "I had to buy another fish." That was sufficient for me, but she continued."I gave the kids a fish as a reward. They were so excited. They named him Nemo." A sigh. I knew where this was heading. "I came in last week and Nemo was floating at the top of the - I told the kids that I had to take Nemo home and clean the tank."
Hands and feet to yourself is a great start. The circle of life will have to wait.