Warm weather brings an end to one of the multitude of things teachers of young children must do that have nothing to do with the teaching and learning process — getting their students bundled up before they go outside on cold days.
You might think that is an easy thing. Take it from me, that is not the case. Coats get put in the wrong cubby. Mittens get lost. Some children may have coats that are alike. Naturally, both claim the same coat. At the same time, the school buses are waiting.
From my teaching years I remember one child who was insistent that a very nice jacket was not his. It did not matter that his name was written inside the jacket in large letters. Even his mother would not claim it. Finally, I put the jacket in lost and found.
Someone has written a humorous tale about the trials and tribulations one kindergarten teacher survived one afternoon while helping a child get ready to leave for home at the end of a bitterly cold day.
Regretfully, I do not know who the author was so I cannot give him or her due credit.
The story goes like this. Mark, a kindergartener, was having trouble putting on his boots. He asked his teacher for help. She quickly understood why he was having a hard time.
The boots were obviously too small for Mark’s feet. The teacher knew Mark’s mother well and was surprised she would let her son wear boots that were not the right size.
Even with the teacher pulling as hard as she could and Mark pushing, it was not easy to get the boots on. After the teacher got down on her knees, things got better. They finally got one boot on. After more pulling and tugging the second boot went on. By then the teacher had worked up a sweat.
While the teacher was helping another child zip her jacket, Mark tugged at his teacher’s sleeve. He was pointing to his boots. They were on the wrong feet.
It was not much easier to get the boots off than it had been to put them on. Finally, she did it.
Once again the teacher pulled and Mark pushed until they had his boots back on his feet. She made sure each boot was on the right foot.
Before she could move on to the next child, Mark was tugging at her sleeve again. She found it hard to believe what he told her. The too-small boots she had laboriously put on his feet twice were not his.
The teacher was getting quite rattled. She did not know whether she wanted to laugh or cry. After taking some deep breaths and counting much farther than 10, she got control of herself.
Again she was down on her knees pulling and tugging until she got the boots off his feet. Now she had another dilemma. She began looking around trying to decide whose boots they were. Plus, where were Mark’s boots?
It was like a light came on in Mark’s head. He suddenly remembered something very important. The boots he had worn that day belonged to his brother.
You and I, especially if you are the parent of a young child, can understand why the teacher had to bite her tongue to keep from screaming.
But, being the professional she was, she got back down on her knees and for the third time that afternoon wrestled the boots back on Mark’s feet.
While the teacher was helping another child with her backpack, Mark went to his cubby for his coat. That was when the teacher noticed Mark was not wearing his mittens.
She looked around the room but did not see them. So, she asked Mark if he knew where his mittens were.
He did. They were in the toes of his boots.
As the story goes, the teacher will be eligible for parole in a few years.
Thank you teachers for all the patience you have with Cherokee County’s children.
There are times when you may grind your teeth, take deep breaths and count farther than 10 to maintain your control. But, you do it and you do it well.
So, enjoy your spring break. You have earned it.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.