Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kindergarten is Back...With a Spider in the Bathroom

Kindergarten started again this week.  We are at a brand new school site and I have 30 students.  Also, I'm the school's Garden Coordinator, I started a Masters Program, and I got engaged.  All of these things have happened in the past week. This year will be a wild ride!

I'm happy to say that after five first days of Kindergarten I am no longer surprised at how crazy it is. The kids are cute and hilarious, and I've loved getting to know their personalities.  I have one student who I am calling "The Squirrel" because she shoots around the room, gets into everything, and is outrageously cute.  Another student has (so far) spent every day wandering around my classroom crying as loudly as possible, begging me to call her mom. :(  And yet another student cannot use our Kindergarten bathroom because he is afraid of spiders.

The spider situation came to light today when said student came rushing up to me with a desperate look on his face.  He had already made one unsuccessful trip to the bathroom where he realized he was unable to unfasten his belt.  He oddly stalked back into the room, approached me and said,

"Can you do dis belt fing? It's really hard!"

I undid the belt, and he went streaking back out in the direction of the bathroom.  This happened right at the beginning of recess when all of my other students were sprinting in sweaty circles outside, while a student from another class was throwing a tantrum that I was called to assist with.

In the midst of all the chaos I forgot that my one student had gone to the bathroom. (Safety note: That bathroom is right outside my classroom which is next to the fenced in playground so he wasn't lost or unsupervised).  Near the end of recess I noticed the same student pacing in and out of the bathroom, muttering to himself and sporting a concerned expression.

My school principal was in the midst (due to the aforementioned tantrum) and he mentioned to me,

"Hey, why is *Johnny* still going in and out of that bathroom?"

I realized that he was right, and that Johnny had been inexplicably wandering around the bathroom area for a longer amount of time then is usually necessary.  To top off the scene, he now had his belt half-way off, and he was pacing back and forth with it dangling from the belt loops on one side of his body.  The principal thought his concern might be getting his belt back on, so he pulled him aside to coach him in putting his belt through the loops on his pants.

He managed to get his belt back on, but then immediately came up to me and asked to go to the bathroom again.  The situation was getting stranger and stranger so I finally asked him what was going on.  I told him he had spent plenty of time in the bathroom, and I wanted to know why he still had not gone.  He threw his head back, dropped his hands to his side, and gave a loud and exasperated sigh as he said,

"BECAUSE der is a SPIDER in der!  And if a spider bites you you will DIE!  And you hafta go to da hospital and get shots and I HATE shots!"

A true five year-old dilemna: Do I pee my pants, or face a bathroom spider?

From the way he was acting I pictured a tarantula in an elaborate web hanging over the urinal, but as I went into the bathroom to scope out the scene I could see no spider.  Johnny waved me over to a corner near the door, the farthest point from the bathroom stall, and pointed up at the ceiling.  There, in the tiniest crack near the window, was a small spider running back and forth.

"You see!!?  It's wight der!  Can you watch the spider so I can go pee?"

"You want me to keep an eye on the spider while you use the stall so it doesn't go near you?"


So that is how I found myself standing in the corner of the bathroom watching a small spider while a student went in the stall and FINALLY used the restroom.

I can't wait for day three.

*As always, names are changed.
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