I eat lunch very day with our Kindergarten through fourth grades. It's a blast and everyday is hug day. This is about my adventure at that age! It's from August 9, 2011.
It was the first day of school and a good one. Our enrollment is solid, not a given in tough economic times for Christian schools. I believe we are close to six hundred students for K-12 which translates to a small but not tiny school. We have wonderful students academically, extracurricularly, socially, and most important, spiritually. I'm teaching five classes (two eighth grade and three sophomore) as well as coaching basketball. There were the normal glitches; my ceiling projector, which I have come to rely on, has a burned out bulb so I had to post assignments on the board. Can you get any more archaic than that? We had our first chapel, first lunch, first everything. It was a good first day.
One of the wonderful things about our school is that it contains such a wide variety of ages so I get to interact with both eighteen year olds and three year olds. This morning, I walked by Mrs. Semanek's kindergarten class while they were having their first water fountain/bathroom break. They were neatly and quietly lined up on the wall outside the nurse's office. As I passed by, Mrs. Semanek said,
"Coach Hawley, can you believe these children are in kindergarten? You would think they are first graders!"
Well-placed praise is always effective, even with five year olds. I readily agreed to her evaluation of the class she will mentor for the next one-hundred-eighty school days. They are blessed to have her.
As I thought about this first day of school, I was reminded of how much more exciting school was in kindergarten. I have so many vivid memories of that year at Willard School in York, Nebraska. Two years ago, Don Knipfel, one of my childhood friends and high school basketball teammates, sent me the two pictures above of Mrs. Petersen's class of which I was a proud member. In the top photo, I'm in the second row between Don (red shirt) and Rex Ellis. In the second picture, I'm in the top row, second from left, between Brad Gloystein and Scott Grosse. At five years of age, I thought Mrs. Petersen was ancient. Obviously, ancient is a term relative to the observer's age! But it was a terrific introduction to school in small town, USA. Times have changed and culture has changed but kids are still needing love and guidance from their teachers. I got that from Mrs. Petersen; our kids will receive it from Mrs. Semanek. In church and chapel, we sing, "Jesus loves the little children." If the children are blessed, their teachers love them, too.
"I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like child stringing beads in kindergarten, - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another."
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