Look at my Happy Rainbow!

My journey as a male kindergarten teacher

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Salon.com
MARCH 30, 2012 6:22PM

We sing.

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Lately I’ve been feeling very nostalgic.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the weather and some of my old (I’m talking middle school old) students coming to visit and making me feel… well ancient.  For the record, I’m not, but when in my mind you were a tiny child and now you’re a young gentleman or lady, it’s a little disheartening.  

Anyway, as part of my reflection, I’ve been revisiting some of my posts from when I began teaching kindergarten… they’re no longer up and I’ve got them edited and am hoping to ‘do something’ with them someday, but for now, they sit and wait to be read once more… 

What I’ve learned since this post is that singing is transformative.  It has the power to make an individual child a part of group.  I’ve also found out that pitch, tone, or quality of voice is irrelevant.  Usually the child with the worst voice sings the loudest and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Here’s one of the very first posts.  I hope you enjoy it.

I am not a gifted singer. I’m too old for American Idol and, while I sing in the shower (and the car, and while cleaning, and – you get the point) – people generally do not request my vocal acrobatics in their presence. Five-year-olds are not as discriminating. We sing from the moment they arrive until they leave the room at three o’clock to take the bus home. I have a sneaky suspicion many of them continue to sing on their way to the bus, on the bus, and as they run into their parents (or day care provider in many cases) arms. We sing about letters, we sing about numbers. We sing nursery rhymes and we sing about being kind. We sing about cleaning up and we sing about sandwiches. We sing about going fishing and we sing about doing the ‘hochy kootchy’ dance – something I’m pretty sure means something totally different if you aren’t in kindergarten.

Nothing makes me smile like watching a group of five-year-olds go down on one knee as they really, I mean REALLY get into their air guitar technique. Something I’ve modeled for them like a good teacher should. Really, if you can learn to play a stellar air guitar, what more do you need to learn?

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