Dear Miss Levine's Kindergarten Class,
Thank you for inviting me to be your Special Reader this morning.
Although waking up and getting dressed and eating breakfast and getting to your school on time was not easy, I reminded myself that each and every one of you does it each and every day. I remembered that you will continue to do the same thing every day for the next 15 years, until you graduate from college. I know this because I know that you are all College Bound.
While I was remembering, I was getting ready. I packed my bag, just as you pack your backpacks, and I checked it a few times just to be sure that I had not forgotten anything. Checking it wasn't much fun, because when I remembered something I had to walk all the way back to where it was lying and walking was hard and I didn't feel like doing it but my house is a No Whining Zone so I had to take a deep breath and put on my Super Girl cloak and whiz back to my desk to pick up those pickle stickers for you.
I'm glad you liked them. I was surprised that Miss Levine asked Kaila to take hers off her mouth. I wonder why she didn't ask all of you to put yours on each of your mouths. The silence would have been lovely.
I am not saying that you were rambunctious or disrespectful or discourteous. You sat down and paid attention whenever Miss Levine or I reminded you about your manners. But next time I think that I will only read two books while you are sitting on the carpet. I will stay just as long, but there will be some moving around involved.
I loved watching you at your Work Centers. The maze on the computer was fun, boys, but I think we laughed harder when we found the treasure inside the clamshells we unleashed after reading out loud hug and tug something else I can't remember. Do you know what it was? (I'm closing my eyes and watching you shout out the answer as Miss Levine is reading this to you. It is a very happy sight.)
Thank you, ladies, for inviting me to try my hand at In the Bag at the Farm artwork. I hope you like your portraits in my bag. I wish I could draw animals the way that you do. You captured exactly what I think it feels like to be a cow. I wonder why so few grown-ups are able to do what you girls did so effortlessly.
I think my favorite part of the morning (aside from the hugs - I love the hugs) was seeing your pride as you presented your Thank You cards to me. I'm glad you think that I am nice and pretty and that you love me and like me. I feel the same way about you and Miss Levine.
Finally, thank you, Miss Levine, for opening your classroom to a stranger. Thank you for sharing your students' loving hearts with me. In your room, as you reminded someone this morning, you do use kind words. You maintain order amidst incipient chaos, and no one is pouting. You are teaching a lesson with every inhale and exhale; you are never off stage. I was exhausted after 60 minutes in the middle of one morning and I wasn't even in charge. I'm awestruck by your patience and grace and strength.
I loved how you told that young miscreant not to worry, that everyone has those moments where she needs to take a break with a book in the hallway. Learning to walk away before the situation gets even worse is a skill that your students are mastering quite nicely with your totally non-judgmental assistance. Would that someone had given me that advice when I was 6.
(And thanks for the smile as I walked by on my way out, Miss Molly. I've kept it with me all day.)
I'll be back real soon, if for no other reason than I, too, am wondering where the capital letter is in that first sentence in our reading book.