Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kindergarten Boardroom

Every week, I volunteer in Richie's kindergarten classroom, and my favorite part is circle time.

Circle time is essentially an employee meeting, with the teacher playing the role of boss. She tells them what work they need to do that day, and they ask important questions such as, "Can I go to the bathroom?" and make insightful comments such as, "I'm hungry."

They're always getting up during circle time, and it's never to do something normal, like blow their noses. For instance, they wear uniforms, and one time, a girl went into the cloakroom wearing her white shirt and plaid jumper and came out wearing leggings and a Hannah Montana T-shirt. Then she came back to circle time like nothing happened.

The teacher was like, "Why aren't you wearing your uniform?"

The girl looked totally confused, as if wondering, "Why would I be wearing my uniform? It's not like I'm at school...or am I? Where am I? What day is it?"

Sometimes during circle time, the picture lady comes. She shows the kids fine art and tells them about the artist. Then she asks questions. Since she is a visitor and doesn't know the kids' names, she points. It always happens that two kids sitting next to each other think she's pointing at them. They engage in a death stare, and I'm not sure how the winner is determined, but eventually that kid answers the question.

Then, for the remainder of circle time, the other kid looks at her like, "How DARE you steal my thunder?"

After a while, a boy usually walks over to his backpack, gets out a toy car, and hides it in his lap. Then another boy says, "So and so has a toy." The teacher tells him to put it away.

Inevitably, the boy who tattled on the other boy goes to his backpack and gets out a toy car.

Another kid says, "So and so is hiding a toy car."

The teacher tells him to put it away.

Then, I kid you not, the second tattle tale gets a car out of his backpack, too.

And, as if she hasn't the same thing 10 billion times, the teachers says calmly, but disappointedly, "Boys and girls, we do not bring toys to circle time. You know better than that."

As a Catholic, this is why I think the saint program is too strict: no kindergarten teachers, to my knowledge, have been canonized. I think all of them should be. You want a miracle: Try teaching a kid who still picks his nose and eats the boogers how to read. I think the pope should just canonize a St. Kindergarten Teacher and if you make it through the year: Boom. You're in.

Back to circle time.

Here's one difference between it and an employee meeting: a table. The kids sit on the floor, so there's a lot of crawling and squirming around. I don't know what would happen if adult meetings were held on the floor. But I'm pretty sure the grownups wouldn't grab their toes and roll onto their backs, like a rocking horse. I also don't think they would get up on their knees and secretly inch forward so that they could be the closest person to the boss. But who knows? Every grownup meeting I've ever been to, there was a table involved.

I'd really like to see, though, what would happen if kindergarteners did attend a company meeting. Like, say they magically became employees at a bank because, I don't know, all the grownups had been beemed into outerspace. What would that be like? Well, you'll soon find out because its the working concept for my 1980s sitcom "Kindergarten Boardroom," which airs on Fridays after Small Wonder. Along with all the other lame shows that reminded adolescents like me the full repurcussions of not having a social life.

Anyway, I don't think the boardroom situation would be as disastrous as you'd think. After circle time, amazingly, 19 out of 20 kids do their work the right way. So obviously, they're listening to directions. Whereas grownups can put on a big show of listening intently while in reality they're thinking, "When was the last time Carla got her hair done. 1982? Ha ha."

So maybe kids would do all right running a bank, as long as their teacher was at the helm. Even if they got out of line, she'd reel them in. I can just hear her now, "Boys and girls we do not give housing loans to people who can't afford them. You know better than that."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is really cute! I just reread it. I love circle time. when I was reading to Johnny's class, one boy did the sneak up closer move, then another one, then they jumped on each other, then several of the other boys, including Johnny jumped in and piled on. I thought it was hysterical!!! Mom

11:54 AM  

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