Although I started out my career as a K-12 librarian, for the past 16 years I have been working only with kids grades 5-12. And for most of that time I was a middle school specialist. So, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system to go back to working with the younger kids, some whom have just turned four. There are some very cute things about the little ones, but they are also pretty gross sometimes.
A week or so ago, some groups of 1st graders came by to interview me about how I fit into the school community. It was a hilariously slow process as each student had a job for the interview-one photographer, one question asker and one note taker. Clearly they were not assigned these roles based on best fit as some of the question-askers couldn’t read very well and a few of the note takers were having a LOT of trouble. In each case, another kid in the group would try to coach them along. It was kind of adorable but very drawn out. The picture above is the final product from one group that I stumbled upon this week when I stopped by their classroom for something. I love it. First of all, that is exactly how crowded the library is. Also, indeed it does seem like there are kids climbing all over the shelves like a jungle gym (this group must have been interviewing me when the Pre-K class was in). Sadly we don’t have a library cat. And the ambient hanging lights are wishful thinking as everyone sure loves some strip lighting here. I did put some student artwork on the walls at the start of the year to make the atmosphere a tad less “Dentist Office Waiting Room,” glad to see it is appreciated! But let’s discuss my outfit. Hilarious. I do not own a rainbow striped tshirt, nor do I have rainbow shoes, but overall I look cheery, so I’ll take it. The hair is a little insane, but it is real humid here and even my stick straight hair can get a little funky. Love the tiny book in my giant hand. I give this assignment an A+ (or actually a 7 as we do standards-based assessment here). Would participate again.
Little kids are so much nicer to you than middle or high school kids. I have had kids tell me they love my dress, they love my stories, one kid told me she wished I was her Mom (?). They CONSTANTLY want to hug you, and rub your arm and hold your hand. They yell “Hello Ms. Schubert!!!!!” across the playground at you when you walk by. Actually, they say Schubert about 60% of the time. The other 40% is a mish-mash of “Mrs. Sugar” (which I thought was a Spanish speaking thing as that’s what the little ones in Paraguay called me, but turns out it’s an under-6 thing) “Mrs. Sheppard” (the name of the Principal) or “Mrs. Simpson” (the tech integrationist). Funny, because the tech integrationist reports that half the kids just call her “Computer.” Guess I should be happy they aren’t calling me “Book.”
Little kids can also be real blunt. Last week some kindergarten boy told me it looked like I was wearing pyjamas. They were real pants with a button and a zip and everything! Jeeze. Also a whole class told me I had funny hair. I thought it was an EAL issue, so I said, oh you mean I have short hair. And they were like “no, you have short hair that also looks funny.” Thanks. They are also kind of gross. They ALL, from pre-K to 5th grade, spend so much time picking their noses. Not discreetly. They never cover their mouths when they sneeze. They want to get reeeeeeeeeaaaaalllllly close to you and stick their heads right by your head, which makes me paranoid about lice. Good thing they are cute.
Sometimes I will literally turn around from having a class full of 4 year olds and work with a class of 14 year olds. It’s a weird transition. Everyone understands my jokes, but no one tells me they love me. There are pluses and minuses to everything!