Gretchen and Amy have each had a turn at writing so I guess that brings it to my turn. I’m Shelley, the kindergarten teacher of the group. When I tell people I teach kindergarten, they either think I’m crazy or lucky. Personally, I think I’m lucky! When I started teaching kindergarten I knew I found what I was meant to do. It is so nice to teach kiddos that, for the most part, love school and love their teacher. I would much rather deal with snotty noses and tears than hormones and attitude. When I first started teaching, 12 years ago, I always said that I wouldn’t teach kids that were taller than me. Well, it seems like that limits me to 3rd grade and younger.
My first year teaching I lived in Covington, TN. During my interview, the principal said to me, “If you can teach here, you will be able to teach anywhere!” I was hired on the spot and the first day, I knew why. When I got my class list on the first day of school, I couldn’t pronounce half of the names. I even had a couple of names that had punctuation in the spelling of their name. There I was, this little white girl, standing in front of 19 African American students that I could not understand because of their thick southern accent. I taught in Tennessee for six years before moving to St. Louis and I loved every minute of it.
A mentor once told me, that the kids will never remember everything you teach them, but they will always remember how you made them feel! Isn’t that so true with our memories? The one thing I remember about kindergarten is that my teacher left me in the room with the other bus riders so she could walk out the car riders. I was terrified because there wasn’t an adult in the room. Our emotions are so tied to memories. To this day, I tell my students that the one thing I want them to take away from kindergarten is that they are perfect just the way they are made and that I love them!