This is Son-shine's Valentine box this year. He wanted a shark and his awesomely crafty grandma helped him make it!! He insisted that the jaws should say "You're Mine"!! Such a witty kid!!
My class' Valentine Party took place on Tuesday. I was really looking forward to it! Our Halloween and Winter party days went off without a hitch. I thought, "This is the last party of the year. No prob...I've totally got this." But whoa...someone seriously should have warned me about Valentine's Day in Kindergarten. WOWZA!!!
I've taught for 10 years - this isn't my first rodeo, people.
I thought I knew what to expect.
I thought I was prepared.
I thought I had a PLAN.
I thought it would be a breeze.
I was wrong.
It started out just fine. Everyone had a box and everyone had valentines to pass out. I modeled the procedure for passing out valentines by passing out my own to the class. It seemed simple enough. I started off real nice and slow by having just one boy and one girl show the class how it's done. One of the kids asked me to read a name for him...no big deal, right? It turns out, that was my first clue that things were about to take a turn for the worse. I should have paid more attention to that clue. I should have revised my "plan". Instead, I turned them loose.
Inside of 12 seconds, it looked like an "end-of-days" zombie apocalypse movie in my classroom. The room had shifted from quiet, calm, and under control to an all-out, every-man-for-himself, survival-of-the-fittest stampede. All I could see were streaks of red - red shirts, red skirts, sparkly red shoes, red valentines, red boxes. Kids were taking off in all directions, running into one another, dropping things, tripping over each other, knocking over Valentine boxes, and making more noise than you've ever heard! Kids were yelling out across the room, "Jaylee - does your name go 'J-o-h-n'?", or "Where does Ava sit?", followed by "Which Ava?". And, I must have heard, "Mrs. Swan, what name does this say?" about 492 million times before we were finally done.
Here are just a few things I learned in Kindergarten on Valentine's Day...
In Kindergarten, decorated shoe boxes are more exciting/distracting than wearing Halloween costumes to school.
In Kindergarten, parents write names in cursive on valentines, thus rendering them indecipherable to a kindergartner.
In Kindergarten, kids don't know the word "from". So, they see their own name (i.e. from Susie) on every valentine they brought to school...and proceed to put each one in their own box.
In Kindergarten, after the kids pass out all the Valentines they brought to share, they will ask tearfully, "But why didn't my mom send one for me?"
In Kindergarten, kids will try to give back a Valentine to a friend if they don't like the candy attached to it.
In Kindergarten, it takes a L.O.N.G. time to pass out Valentines.
In Kindergarten, kids are SO excited and are having such a GREAT time passing out Valentines that they (thankfully) don't notice that the teacher is having a panic attack!
It was crazy-whacko-nuts, I tell ya!! But those 22 little cherubs honestly had the time of their lives!! They didn't know what it was supposed to look like (and apparently neither did I!!). We all just lived in the moment, laughed, and showered each other with love...zombie-apocalypse-style!! And in the end, I suppose that's what love (and teaching kindergarten) is really all about...
It catches you by surprise.
It turns your world upside down.
It changes your plans.
It makes you laugh when you think you're going to fall apart.
It drives you crazy.
It's a heart-stopping roller coaster ride.
It makes you realize that TOGETHER is a wonderful place to be!
I went home that day and declared to my (mutually weird) husband, "It's a deal-breaker. I can't do even ONE MORE Valentine's Day in Kindergarten!" But, my husband is also a wonderful friend and simply listened as I shared my war story. As I was describing the events of the day, I found myself smiling and laughing during some of the most crazy/sweet parts. At the end of our conversation, he put his arm around me, looked me in the eye and said, "You're right...that's a hard day! (chuckle) But I know you. Someday you'll look back on your career and remember this day out of all the rest. Someday, you'll miss days like this." In that moment, I realized that there is struggle in any worthwhile endeavor. And there is nothing more worthwhile than children. So, I've already started thinking of ways to do it better next year! Any tips for me? Anyone else ever experience the joy and terror of your very own Zombie-Apocalypse...anyone? Anyone?? ;)