Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kindergarten memories ...

A friend told me her 5-year old son has really been looking forward to school until this week. Seems he saw a picture of his new kindergarten teacher and decided she "looks mean."

I'm not quite sure what mean looks like ... but perhaps the teacher had a serious look instead of a smile. Or maybe she looked like no one he knew personally, and he wasn't anxious to meet her.

Or perhaps, in his young mind, the teacher in the photo was trying to usurp Mom's place in his heart. Whatever his reason, I can identify with the difficulty of adjusting to new schedules and the disconnect from my own mother when classes began.

Mrs. Fischer was my teacher, and I was assigned to her afternoon class. If I remember correctly, she had curly blond hair, a pleasant smile and a perky attitude. She looked nice enough, and I was anxious to get started. The first few days were wonderful (!) and I made lots of new friends.

Later that week, things went haywire in a hurry. When I walked into the classroom one day, someone had switched the students! None of the faces looking at me were familiar at all. It was an odd sensation, standing there and feeling I'd landed in the wrong room. But the room was the same, Mrs. Fischer was at the front, and I was in the right room. But my new friends had been replaced with strangers.

When Mrs. Fischer noticed me standing there, she stopped her little band of students (who were happily marching to music) and said in her perky voice, "Nancy, you are here too early. This is still the morning class."

Horrified, I shrank back out the door, ran to the end of the hall and pushed against the heavy metal door. Outside, I plopped down on the concrete porch and cried. What had gone wrong?

In looking back on that day, I still can't place the pieces of that puzzle together. Perhaps Mom had to take my baby brother for a checkup and walked me to school earlier than usual. Perhaps a neighbor had given me a ride and I got there too soon.

I don't remember all the details, but I do remember the warm puddle that began seeping into my dress and socks. Now I was doubly horrified. I never wanted to step foot in that school room again!

Somehow, it all worked out in the end. I don't remember who rescued me, who called my mother or how I got fresh clothing before the afternoon class began. Mrs. Fischer wasn't a mean teacher at all -- she was probably inexperienced and just didn't handle the situation very wisely. You'll be glad to know I learned to love kindergarten and passed with flying colors.

I hope my friend's son enjoys kindergarten year. I also hope that "mean-looking" teacher turns out to be a nice one. Thankfully, kindergarten lasts all day now, so he won't have to worry about getting there too early -- or walking in on the wrong class!


  1. Nan...today was the first day of school for our students. What perfect timing for this post from you. I empathize with you as I read your story. I got a lump in my throat thinking how you must have felt as a child....confused....alone. I hope that teachers of all students are sweet, fair, loving, compassionate, and full of tenderness. Great teachers foster a love of learning in each young student's heart. I do hope your friend's son enjoys his kindergarten year.

  2. Jackie, I hope your kiddos enjoy their school year, too. Thanks for your thoughtfulness -- I believe my friend's little boy is going to be fine once he has a chance to discover all the fun and new friends he'll have!

  3. Hi Nan. When I was at school I thought all teachers were mean! Most of them were, including one known as Miss Pinches. In case you're wondering, yes she did. Hard! I hope things have improved since my day.


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