I stood at my desk Wednesday morning and began pulling a variety of things from my “Mary Poppins” teacher bag that I had taken to school for the day.
I had just started when a couple of fellow teachers popped into my classroom to say good morning. (One of the advantages of having a classroom next door to the main office is that it makes it convenient for people to stop by to say hello or to pop in if they need one thing or another for an activity that day. We won’t mention the disadvantages!)
I laughed as yet another teacher popped in and I continued to empty my teacher bag as we chatted about this and that. We still had at least 30 minutes before the children arrived, and it was great to start the day laughing and chatting with friends.
A few minutes later Mrs. B., a fellow kindergarten teacher, rushed in and made a beeline to my desk.
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“I’m so sorry to interrupt, Debbie, but could I ask you for a few things?”
“Of course! I’m at your service, what do you need?”
“First, I would love some Static Guard!” I quickly handed it to her as I always have it at the ready on the corner of my desk.
The other teachers smiled knowingly because this winter was wicked, and we seemed to have had an epidemic of static electricity because of it.
“There,” she said, “Now I only need two more things. Can I have a cup of lima beans and a box of knee highs?”
It took me a less than a minute to fill her request and she went on her merry way.
Mr. B., one of the teachers who had stopped by to say hello, laughed out loud as she was leaving.
“This is why I love coming to kindergarten! Where else can someone walk into your classroom, ask for static guard, lima beans and knee-highs and leave with all three? Where else?”
We all smiled because we knew he was right. We also know that most teachers have an incredible stash of “things you might need” in their cupboards. This is one of the reasons we don’t let others clean our closets, throw away our stuff or organize too much for us — because we know just what we have and just where it might be. I like to call it organized chaos, but others might call it something else.
The children are always surprised at what comes out of this drawer or that.
“You lost the tiny light saber for your Lego man? Here, I have an extra. It’s not the same color, but it will fit!”
“Oh Suzy, you lost the gem from your Hello Kitty shoe? Here, I have some small gems the same size and a hot glue gun. Hand over the shoe.”
“Jack, don’t worry about your button. I have one right here in my button box that matches! And here, I’ll use this little sewing kit to sew it back on!”
I often feel like a magician when I’m able to find ways to put little broken hearts back together. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to work magic with the big people in the building who need help.
I’ve been able to supply special secret birthday pencils, double-sided tape, spring ribbons, extra-wide yellow yarn, washers of all shape and size, nuts and bolts, an X-acto knife, teddy bear counters, bingo daubers and a collection of tiny plastic pigs.
I’ve handed out tiny plastic turtles, a bag of play money, a collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and several fabulous animal puppets. Frankly, if you have a need (or are participating in one heck of a scavenger hunt), I’m pretty sure one of the kindergarten teachers can help you out.
On Tuesday we were using some of the particular items that Mrs. B. had been searching for. We were making grass heads by putting grass seeds and dirt into those very knee-highs that I had on hand. I watched John fill his and then he stopped suddenly and looked at me.
“Wait, Ms. Marsh, wait a minute. Are these your panty hose from home?”
“No!” I said as I picked up the box and showed it to him “I wouldn’t use my own nylons! These are brand-new knee-highs!”
“Whew, that’s a relief. Cause if they were, that would just be nasty.”
“Don’t worry, John. I know I bring in all kinds of things from home, but they are either new or something that’s recyclable. I try very, very hard not to bring in anything that might be nasty.”