Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

Names on a page

on 21 August, 2010

So, classroom setup is going more slowly than I would like — why do nasty chores like bulletin boards always take 3 times as long as I want them to? Ugggh, I HATE HATE HATE bulletin boards, but that is another post for another day, because something magic happened on Thursday afternoon, and THAT, dear Internet, is what I want to write about.

What is this magic thing, you ask?! Late on Thursday afternoon, my boss (we have a weird admin structure at our private school, so her title is actually Director of Primary, but her function is basically that of principal for pre-K through 3rd grade. Anyway, her name here will be Camryn) brought me a piece of paper. On that piece of paper were 19 names. 11 girls. 8 boys. There is a George and an Ellie and a Riley and a James. There is, of course, Brayden (who is repeating kindergarten this year, and will be with me full time.) There is Tommy, whose mom requested me because he is apparently a very tiny, very cuddly little boy, and she once saw me sitting in my story chair with no less than 3 rugrats curled into my lap. There are last names reflecting a rainbow of ethnicities, and there are nicknames written in parentheses…

And suddenly, magically, there are children all over my classroom. Don’t misunderstand, the actual George and Ellie and Riley and company do not arrive until next Thursday, but somehow, as soon as that list was in my hands, I was picturing little faces as I set up chairs and hung alphabet charts and sorted blocks and folded doll clothes. In my mind I was holding little hands and stroking little cheeks. Suddenly, with a simple list of 19 names, I loved those children, and they were mine and I was theirs, and even the damn bulletin boards took on new meaning.

This is not a new phenomenon to me: it has happened to me in every situation where “getting a list” is a meaningful concept, whether it was teaching preschool or running summer camp. Somehow those names make it real. A few minutes after receiving my list, my colleagues received theirs, and the inevitable “who did you get?” questions began. But here’s the thing for me: I don’t care who anyone else got. I am fully aware that there are 60 other kindergarten students arriving on Thursday. I’m sure that they are lovely children. But these 19 munchkins? They are mine. And even now, while most of them are just names on a page, I love them the best.

3 Responses to “Names on a page”

  1. […] got my class list today. 20 kids, 10 girls, 10 boys. As I wrote about here, almost exactly 2 years ago, having a list of names changes everything. I wish parents knew this: […]

  2. Amy says:

    I love this post. Because this is how I have always felt about lists. Love. 🙂

  3. gail says:

    I'm with ya on those bulletin boards. My new classroom has 8 of them ranging from 1×1 to 8×12. My peers have created interesting boards over the years. I think a great strategy is to make a few of them permanent displays, things like word walls & star of the week cutouts. I was known for having an empty hall bulletin board for weeks. Now I learn that many teachers find these displays to be hard to manage on top of everything else. Hey! Maybe we could do a #kinderchat on bulletin board ideas?

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