Thursday, November 13, 2008


I spend every Thursday afternoon volunteering in Drew's kindergarten classroom. I have a good time. I get to know his friends and see how amazing Drew is. He is kind, caring, smart. I love to watch him take it all in. I get to be a part of his school time with out him feeling like I am intruding. I know those days will come all to soon.

Today, however, I came to the very real conclusion that I was not meant to be a kindergarten teacher. In the Sacramento school district, they do parent teacher conferences very different than anything I have witnessed before. The kids get half days for 8 days. Teachers hold 3-4 conferences a day and don't have to work late. This is good for the teachers and full day students, as well as morning Kindergarten students. For the afternoon kindergarten kids it is a nightmare. They are used to sleeping in a little, not having a rushed morning, getting to eat breakfast, watch TV - get ready at their leisure. Not during minimum days. The afternoon kindergarten kids have to go in the AM so in Drew's classroom there are 40+ kids from 8-11:30. It is that way in the other kindergarten class as well. It is controlled chaos.

I did my volunteer time this morning. The kids were split into groups of 5-7 kids and they visited "centers" each center had an activity. at one station they were cutting pilgrim hats for their pilgrim faces. At another they were doing language arts worksheets. One station was magnadoodle and one was geosquares. I had the math worksheet. It was my job to help these kids in small groups work on ordinal numbers. We were working on 6th thru 10th. This was not on my kindergarten cirriculum. I don't even think it was taught in 1st grade. Ever try to keep the attention of 5-7 kids to do a work sheet when all around them there are 35 ohter kids talking and playing? It was not pretty. I was able to think on my feet and get their attention but keeping it was another matter. We managed.

It was obvious the kids, both morning and afternoon, were out of their element. I had several tell me they didn't like all the noise. It was a distraction to them. No one could hear anything, let alone learn anything in that environment. Everyone was definitely ready for recess and snack.

I don't know how the teachers do it. In some ways I think it is very unfair to them as well as the students. It would be better if they rotated the kindergarten every other day. Or have the teachers do all the conferences in a day and a half. and be done with it.

I guess the teachers have a better union than the kids.

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