Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Love Letter to Kindergarten

*On this day, my last day of kindergarten for a while, this letter needed to be written. It's eight years in the making.
*The photo shows my kindergarten picture, my first year teaching kinder, and today!

A love Letter to Kindergarten

Kindergarten, I love you. I love your silliness and seriousness. Where else would I get to dress up as a Pilgrim, a fire fighter, a princess, a sheep, a shark, an Olympian, and the sugar plum fairy and get paid for it? Where else would I get to discuss the Trinity and sparkly shoelaces in the same conversation? You are a place of wonder and excitement because everything is new! I love that you give me the chance to be the first…their first teacher, the first person to hear them read a sentence, the first person to hear them count all the way to 100, and in some cases, the first person to tell them that God is crazy about them!

Kindergarten schedule, I love you. I love that you don’t allow us to do anything for longer than twenty minutes, because who wants to sit longer than that anyway? I love that you come with a rest time, because who doesn’t need time to relax and listen to the Piano Guys and the Pentatonix in the middle of the day? I love that you allow time for play, because I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s actually when we learn the most.

Kindergarten job title, I love you. I love getting to say, “I’m a kindergarten teacher” because when I do, everyone can relate since we all were once kindergartners. I love the inevitable smile that appears when people hear what I do. They grin and think how much fun that must be, or they smirk and think how glad they are that someone in the world actually wants to do that! I love how, upon hearing that I teach kindergarten, people always say, “Well of course you do!” We match, you and I. We fit. We’re bosom buddies.

Kindergartners, I love you the most! I love your little voices and little fingers. I love your wiggly teeth and the way you ask to sit in my lap. I love the pictures you draw me and the gifts you give me (rocks, acorns, shells, and on occasion, a favorite stuffy or matchbox car). I love that wrapped up in you are the most selfish and most selfless qualities I’ve ever seen in humanity. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You make me laugh so hard I cry! I love what’s important to you. Hair bows and dinos are indeed important. Coloring and the name of each shade on the crayon is important. Do-overs and second chances are important. Kind words are important and learning to apologize the correct way is important. You are correct that glitter indeed does make everything better and scotch tape is a thing of magic.

Kindergarten rhythm, I love you. I love that we start at the beginning of the year with concrete goals to accomplish and a strategy to fulfill them. I love that we start with little people who have a hard time doing much on their own and when we finish, they can read! They can write! They can follow directions! They can tie their own shoes (ok, actually, we’re still working on that one)! I love that there is a definite start and a definite end…and then we get to start all over again with a new batch of littles.

Well that end I talked about has come. Today marks the end of my 8th year in kindergarten (counting my own year of kindergarten when I was five). That means that I have spent more than a quarter of my life in kindergarten! I know you, kindergarten, very well and I love you dearly. But starting this fall, I won’t be going back to the beginning. I’ll be carrying on where you leave off in the big world of 1st grade. I know that people roll their eyes when I talk about being daunted by the grown up world of 1st grade, but it’s hard to leave you! What special sounds do we learn in 1st grade? What are 1st grade sight words? What do I do with students who already know how to count by 10’s? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m about to find out! I’m excited to figure out new ways to teach new things, but please know that you will always and forever have a warm, fuzzy (and sometimes frustrating) place in my heart! I’ve heard teachers say that once they go to a higher grade, they could never go back down, but I’m not so sure. I have a 1st grade classroom waiting for me and some precious 1st graders calling my name, but I can’t imagine that I won’t be back for you, kindergarten. You’re in my heart always. You are a part of who I am! I love you!

With all my love,

Miss Kirchner/Miss Beth

P.S. Can I still call my 1st graders, “my littles?” Just wondering.

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