As I have shared before, one of the great perks of being an administrator is the ability to pop in and out of classrooms. Although the intent of such drop-ins is to observe the wonderful learning opportunities afforded to our students, we are also able to see great teaching taking place. Occasionally, such great teaching can even come from our students. Such was the case today as I visited the PreKindergarten and Kindergarten classes.
In PreK, the students are currently studying dinosaurs, and were arranged on the floor learning to sing a song – I distinctly remember the term “Brontosaurus” being bandied about . . . As I listened in the background, I took the time to tour a dinosaur museum that the teachers had put together. Complete with lots of pictures and even a dinosaur bone or two – large cow bones actually, but please don’t tell – the highlight of the museum was the recent hatching of the class’ dinosaur egg.
Actually, a small watermelon painted to look egg-like – again, no telling! – the egg had recently “hatched” and had a small dinosaur (plastic), now struggling to emerge. I was immediately struck by both the creativity of the museum and egg, as well as by the fact that several students actually bought into the egg scenario, with one grabbing my hand and telling me that they hoped I wasn’t scared. As I was about to assure my new friend that I was OK, I felt a tug on my other hand. Leaning down to listen – PreK students are notoriously short in stature – my newest friend told me “Don’t worry, it’s not real. We’re just pretending!” Steadied by this revelation, I felt strong enough to move on to Kindergarten.
As I entered one of the Kindergarten classrooms, and despite my desire not to interrupt, I was immediately greeted and invited to view their new class pets. I particularly enjoyed the hermit crabs, though I evidently violated classroom protocol by picking up a shell to actually see the crab inside. Though not directly reprimanded for my egregious act, the loud gasps told me immediately I had gone one step too far. Noting that the teacher had thankfully not seen my crime, I apologized to the students and assured them I would never do it again. Their smiles told me I was surely forgiven.
Moving on to the fish tank in the same classroom – this time with new escorts – I noticed quite the growing collection of assorted goldfish – the living kind – and perhaps a few others. Proudly displaying their new “school,” the students clearly enjoyed sharing their new treasures with me. However, once again, I slipped and let my obvious ignorance show.
Noticing a sticker from “Finding Nemo” on the front of the tank, I said that Dory was my favorite fish. Just as I turned to leave the classroom, I saw one of my young escorts eye roll the other and then say, “He thinks it’s real!” Laughing too hard to defend myself, I walked away content in having learned my lessons for the day: dinosaur eggs don’t hatch anymore and Dory from “Finding Nemo” is not real. Couple both of these with the obvious rule of not picking up hermit crabs in the classroom, I was already exhausted – and it was only 9:15 in the morning!
While the best thing about being an administrator may be the ability to visit all of the various classrooms, it’s obvious you better be able to learn and you better follow the rules. If not, there are always plenty of “teachers” available to help.
I understand the other Kindergarten class has an animal that looks just like me – something about a bearded dragon . . . I can’t wait!