I am continually amazed at the ability of kindergarten teachers to get 20 just-out-of-preschool kids moving in the same educational direction. Making all the right things happen at the right time is just about the most difficult thing in Kindergarten.
I'd had a very bad time of it one day with a new class of kindergartners. Inadvertently I'd gotten an hour off on my time. I raced the kids through centers started hurrying them out the door to snack when the teacher next door stopped us. "Isn't it snack time?" I asked
"Not for another hour," she said. "Have you already finished centers?"
The truth was we'd hardly finished centers, and certainly not with any quality. But now we were all moving towards snack and I had to bring them back into the world of cutting out words that started with the letter "p." I brought the kids back to the carpet and told them I was sorry I had made a mistake, but we would work it out. And we did. They were very forgiving, but very hungry they told me. I told myself kindergartners can learn that even a day with mistakes can be salvaged for something good.
Two weeks later I was back in the same class. As we settled in for the morning calendar routine. I reminded the students I had been there two weeks before. "And we had a little mistake," the boy in the front row reminded me. I grimaced. How is it that a five year old can remember your mistake from two weeks before but can't remember the directions you gave him five minutes ago. "Yes," I admitted in my calm, pleasant kindergarten voice. "we did have a little mistake. But I think things will go better to day." He nodded with what I hoped was confidence.
Fortunately for my confidence, and in rather a lovely gesture, the teacher who caught me in the middle of the snafu, asked if I would sub for her kindergarten class the following week. One thing you learn in kindergarten is that mistakes can offer you another chance to suceed.