Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kindergarten Forever (Karen Meissner)

"If" Kindergarten were phased out, what other grade would you consdier teaching and why? Gerri Smith

Gerri, Gerri, Gerri,
Thank you for bestowing the “Pixie” to me! However, since in my opinion your question is merely a “hypothetical” one because KINDERGARTEN is the initial and vital foundation of all future learning, I don’t think it’s going “away” any time soon. So in order to try to answer your question, I feel I must provide some background of my prior experiences in education.

In January ’82 I accepted a position as a teacher assistant at Mayport Elementary in a self-contained EH (Emotionally Handicapped) classroom because my two best friends were teachers there. (I had previously been working as a full-time hair stylist.) After staying in that position for 1 ½ years, I “begged” my principal to move me because Special Ed just wasn’t my niche (ironic, isn’t it, since Kindergarten presents unique and special challenges each year?) The next year the principal humored me by moving me to Kindergarten. I felt like Art Linkletter—kids do say the “darnedest” things. I stayed in that position for the next 3 ½ years before deciding to return to college to pursue an Early Childhood degree. I found my “happy place” and kindergarten was fun!

So, after about 13 years since last being a college student, I spent the next 5 years being a student and becoming a mom (Hank ’88, Max ’90). A few months after getting my degree, the principal who humored me so many years earlier arranged my first interview for a teaching position. In August ’92 I accepted a 2nd grade teaching position at Central Riverside (sight unseen & before its major remodeling). Six weeks into the year I was switched to 1st grade because of low enrollment/budget issues. The next year I had a 1-2 combination class and my third year there I was back in 1st grade. At the end of that year I applied for a transfer to be closer to home and to have more time with my young sons. I was luckily offered a 1st grade position at Alimacani (our neighborhood school—YEAH!) because of some short-lived class-size reduction legislation. The legislation was soon rescinded due to “funding” issues (Imagine that!), but because in those days Alimacani was a multi-track school and I’d already begun teaching I got to stay (Hallelujah!). My next year there I was a “roving” 1st grade teacher (it would take another Pixie Pointer to explain “roving”). And then along came a school called “Chets Creek.” I was surplused to Chets and was scheduled to teach a 4-5 combination class (THANK YOU Anne & Lori!), but during the summer I got a call (on my birthday—Oh, what a “gift”) offering me a Kindergarten position! I never gave up my “hope” of becoming a Kindergarten teacher! I give thanks each day and pray for patience and guidance to follow the path that God has set for me. So, as you can see, I was “blessed” by being surplused to Chets for the opportunity it has provided me to do what I love each and (almost) every day. My experiences have “taught” me to “keep the faith” and to trust in the decisions of others. I hope to continue laying that vital foundation for PRIMARY students (or I guess I could always go back to hair styling—just kidding). I love being a part of the Chets Creek family and I JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN!

1 comment:

Dorry Lopez said...

I now know you even better! What an interesting and very humorous story! You are a "hoot."