Thursday, September 03, 2009

Elementary School Secrets

Every once in a while, when I'm chatting with a fellow Mama, I'm reminded that as parents, we only have access to a few kids in any given age group, and it's hard to know what's normal. No, that's not it, there's no such thing as a normal kid. Maybe, it's hard to know what generally comes with the territory for any given age group.

One of the advantages of teaching Elementary School is that I get to see loads of kids every day, and at all different ages, and watch them grow and develop. I love that part. It's been so fun to see the kindergartners I started with, now 4th graders, through all of their growing up. I love seeing all of the kids every day. But that's not my point.

My point is that there's some stuff I know. Maybe you'd like to know it too.

1. Kids fall out of their chairs until about halfway through 2nd grade. It's not that they're being naughty, though sometimes it does happen because of wiggling. It's often inexplicable, and just as surprising to the kids as to you.

2. Those jeans with the metal snap buttons are really hard for kids to fasten. Teachers are helping with that, often through 1st grade. The first time I saw a kid fiddling with his button I couldn't figure out what was wrong for 15 minutes. I just knew he was really concerned, and it had something to do with his pants. I finally pulled him into the hall to find out what was going on. Coming from the High School, I was awfully surprised at the problem, and half scared to help him. I finally shook myself back to reason and buttoned his pants. He was awfully relieved.

3. The cool eraser IS that important. I keep waiting to find out when they're going to outgrow that, but it doesn't happen before 6th grade is over. If there's one pencil with a cool eraser, or one pencil with an American flag on it, they will fight over it. And if you give them a big pink eraser, it's not possible to avoid folding it in half until it breaks in two. I've never seen anyone resist.

4. Coloring and scribbling and tearing paper are really important things for little ones to do before they come to school. It helps to build up the muscles in their arms. Lots of our little K's get tired and sad and complain about their arms hurting.

5. They tell us everything. My favorite so far is "My Dad wants Mom to have another baby, but she says we're enough."

Know of any others?


Jenny said...

Oh, this is great! I hope some other teachers or others who work with school-age kids chime in. Jacob had so much trouble with the snap buttons in first grade that we bought him several pairs of "slider" pants that looked like they had a button but really had a sliding hook thing that was easy to fasten on the inside. And regarding #5 - my mom had a student tell her that his dad likes to run around the house in his mom's bikini.

The Tidwells said...

Here's my contribution:

*It's more important that kids enter kindergarten knowing how to tie their shoes than knowing how to read. The teachers will teach them to read, but many stop tying shoes after Christmas (so the kids walk around with laces trailing behind them)

*Shoes with velcro fasteners do not solve the above problem, kids cannot resist playing with velcro! I put velcro on my carpet mats to keep them slipping, and the kids will reach under the mats to feel the velcro.

*When a first grader says that someone said the "s" word, they mean "stupid" or "shut up"

*Check the school lost and found box occasionally, the kids don't, and when they do, they rarely recognize their own clothing.

Melanie said...

These are great! I was laughing at #1; and #3--I know I broke erasers that way--how far can I bend it...We also drilled holes in ours with pencils--I saw my 4-yr old try that today--you don't have to teach that stuff! (sorry for the run-on fragments, unfortunately that's how my brain works right now!