Monday, November 10, 2008

The Day I Wore Pigtails

Other than the fact that it was a Friday, the best day of the week, I thought it was just an ordinary day. I woke up, ate breakfast, and got ready for school. Since we were going to be taking a train ride in class this Fun Friday, and I was going to be the conductor, I decided to wear my hair in pigtails. I thought it would look cute, the kids would enjoy it, and I was going to be wearing a hat later in the day so it would be perfect.
On my arrival to school a few of my kids looked at me and just smiled with one of those grins that said so much more than, “Hey it’s good to see you.” My little Johanna was the best as she looked at me and just said, “Miss Halemeier….your hair???” And that was it. What am I supposed to think of that? What does that mean?
Well I carried on with greeting the kids as they walked in, and helped them get situated in their morning centers. During the morning hustle I heard a noise coming from the back table. When I stopped to listen I noticed that my dear German girl, Johanna, was singing. She often does and I enjoy it with all my heart. As she sang, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” she paused, looked at me, recalculated, and then proceeded to change the words to… “Jesus loves the Miss Halemeier’s. All the Miss Halemeier’s of the world.…” As she sang you could clearly see she was quite impressed with herself. I thought it was very cute as well and thankfully told her so.
At this point there were only a few kids in the classroom and things were plugging along like normal. Then Adam and his nanny entered the room. Adam was crying and holding on to his nanny for dear life while throwing a fit about not wanting to be at school. Adam is my crier. The first two weeks he cried almost every day. He’s done so well lately and has started to open up and come out of his comfort zone and I thought his crying days were over….apparently I was wrong. I peeled Adam off of his nanny and sat him on my lap while telling him this was not okay and that he was alright and knew better. He slowed his crying down and stopped trying to escape my arms after realizing I wasn’t going to let go, and that he would have to calm down.
Now if you’ve ever experienced the joy of teaching four year olds you realize that it doesn’t take much to draw a crowd of concern and wonder in these kid’s minds. Actually…that applies to a lot of ages. Before I knew it there was a small gathering of concerned children saying, “sorry” to Adam and trying to love on him as best they knew how. Sorry is what people say here to our, “Are you okay?” Hopefully I racked my brain trying to figure out how to make Adam stop crying. As I looked up Johanna was standing right at my toes. She often does this as well, sometimes even on them! “Johanna maybe you should sing your song for Adam.” I exclaimed. I hoped it would cheer him up, catch him off guard, or at least sidetrack him. But it didn’t. I think it actually made it worse as he started to squirm again and try for a squiggly release out the door.
At this time I heard a different set of tears accompanied by hard cries as Megan, one of the most agreeable, polite, and joyful students I have came into the room being carried by her mother. She was clenched so tight to her mom and had her head buried in her chest as she sobbed and cried to go home….
…Okay, right about now I was starting to question my effectiveness as a teacher and wondered where I had gone wrong. What was I doing to these kids?....
…While still holding Adam on one knee, who was still crying, Megan’s mom and I tried to work on Megan and what her problem was. At first, we thought she was being picked on by an older kid. Her mom had explained that she didn’t know where the tears were coming from but that when she walked onto the school playground Megan just looked at one of the other girls and started bawling while insisting to go home! It seemed odd, and I had never heard Megan complain about anyone before. Finally, Megan also started to calm down and sat next to me on the bench opposite Adam and I just put my arm around her and tried to ask what was wrong, who was hurting her, all while reassuring her that I would come out and play with her at recess today.
By now the crowd around this fiasco was growing and dear, compassionate Johanna was still singing her song now to both Adam AND Megan. She has such a pure heart, I love it! So now, amidst the tears, singing, and questioning from other student as to what was wrong I thought, “Good grief this is going to be a long day.” But the Lord is faithful and Adam’s tears finally slowed to a sob, and Megan’s mom pulled her aside to talk privately. As she returned Megan’s mom apologized saying that Megan was upset because she had simply forgotten to wear the t-shirt that the kids are only allowed to wear on Friday. I laughed a little and started to feel better, maybe there was still hope for the day.
Needless to say, everything ended up working out and the day turned out fine. Adam continued to cry a little as the other boys in our class tried to cheer him up by helping him put together a puzzle on the carpet. Well actually, the boys worked to put the puzzle together as Adam sat and sobbed, but only for a short time. As for little Megan I had Mr. Owen grab a P.E. t-shirt from the closet so that the two of us would match. I had worn my P.E. shirt that day and we were the only ones in red that day!!
So in conclusion, I’ve learned my lesson. Wearing pigtails is definitely not the best strategy for teaching. That is unless you want to be challenged with the most intense and stressful fifteen minutes you’ve ever faced. I most likely will not ever wear pigtails to school again…even though I did think they looked cute and went awfully well with my train conductor hat!