All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

~by Robert Fulgham~


Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned: Share everything.  Play fair.  Don't hit people.  Put things back where you found them.  Clean up your own mess.  Don't take things that aren't yours.  Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.  Wash your hands before you eat.  Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.  Live a balanced life.  Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.  Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup.  The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup ~ they all die.  So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all:  LOOK.  Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.  The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all ~the whole world  had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.  Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.  And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Back to Kinderthemes
Teachers Get Paid Too Much...

I'm fed up with teachers and their hefty salary schedules.  What we need here is a little perspective.

If I had my way, I'd pay these teachers myself-I'd pay them baby-sitting wages.  That's right-instead of paying these outrageous taxes, I'd give them $3 an hour out of my own pocket.  And I'm only going to pay them for five hours, not lunch or coffee breaks.  That would be $15.00 a day.  Each parent should pay $15 a day for these teachers to babysit their child.  Even if they have more than one child, it's still a lot cheaper than privated daycare.

Now, how many children do they teach every day-maybe 20?  That's $15x20=$300 a day.  But remember they only work 180 days a year!  I'm not going to pay them for vacations!  $300x180=$54,000.  (Just a minute, I think my calculator needs new batteries.)

I know you teachers will say-What about those who have 10 years experience and a Master's Degree?  Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just babysitting, they could read the kids a story.  We could round that off to about $5 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children.  That's $500 a day times 180 days.  That's $90,000....HUH?

Wait a minute, let's get a little perspective here.  Babysitting wages are too good for these teachers.  Has anyone seen a salary schedule around here?

~Anonymous
I Didn't Know

I didn't know that years of school and a college degree would be of little consolation when facing a room full of bright little eyes on the first day of school. I thought I was ready...
I didn't know that five minutes can seem like five hours when there is idle time and an eight hour school day far too short for a well-planned day of teaching.
I didn't know that teaching children was only a fraction of my job. No one tells you about the conferences and phone calls, faculty meetings and committees, paperwork and paperwork...
I didn't know that it took so long to cut out letters, draw and color pictures, laminate-all for those bulletin boards that were always "just there"...
I didn't know that I would become such a scavenger, and that teaching materials would feel like pure gold in my hands...
I didn't know that an administration and co-workers that support and help you could make such a difference...
I didn't know that there would be children that I loved and cared for and stayed up late worrying about, who, one day, would simply not show up. And that I would never see them again...
I didn't know that I can't always dry little tears and mend broken hearts. I thought I could always make a difference...
I didn't know that the sound of children's laughter could drown out the sound of all the world's sadness...
I didn't know that children could feel so profoundly. A broken heart knows no age.
I didn't know that a single "yes ma'am" from a disrespectful child or a note in my desk that says "You're the best!" could make me feel like I'm on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there...
I never knew that after one year of teaching I would feel so much wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once.
And that I would no longer call teaching my job, but my privilege.
A Box of Crayons

While walking in a toy store
the day before today,
I overheard a crayon box
with many things to say.
"I don't like red!" said yellow.
And green said, "Nor do I!"
And no one here likes orange,
but no one knows quite why."
"We are a box of crayons
that really doesn't get along,"
said blue to all the others
"something here is wrong!"
Well, I bought that box of crayons
and took it home with me
and laid out all the crayons
so the crayons could all see.
They watched me as I colored
with red and blue and green
and black and white and orange
and every color in between.
They watched as green
became the grass
and blue became the sky.
The yellow sun was shining bright
on white clouds drifting by.
Colors changing as they touched,
becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored.
They watched till I was through.
And when I'd finally finished,
I began to walk away.
And as I did the crayon box
had something more to say...
"I do like red!" said the yellow
and green said, "So do I!"
"And blue you are terrific
so high up in the sky."
"We are a box of crayons
each of us unique,
but when we get together
the picture is complete."
Now if we could just learn from this box of crayons
this world would be a better place.
Shane DeRolf
1923 Elementary School Teacher Requirements
1. Teacher is not to get married. This contract becomes null and void if teacher marries.
2. Teacher is not to keep the company of men.
3. Teacher must be home between the hours of 8 P.M. and 6 A.M. unless in attendance at a school function.
4. Teacher may not loiter downtown in ice cream parlors.
5. Teacher may not leave town at any time without permission of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
6. Teacher is not to smoke cigarettes or drink wine, beer or whiskey.
7. Teacher may not ride in a carriage with any man except her brother or father.
8. Teacher is not to dress in bright colors.
9. Teacher may not dye her hair.
10. Teacher will not wear dresses more than two inches above the ankle.
11. Teacher is to wear at least two petticoats.
12. Teacher is to bring a bucket to school to clean and scrub the building every week.
A Teacher's ABC

A is for the abundance of questions and yearning
B is for both inward and outward beauty
C is for creative learning
D is for doing it over 'til it's right
E is for the effort you pour into preparing into each night
F is for watching how far we can go
G is for seeing us blossom and grow
H is for reaching for that star so high
I is for imagination, for the courage to try
J is for joy in touching a child's life in a meaningful way
K is for kindness you bring children each day
L is for the love of teaching we see
M is for the "me" you're helping me to be
N is for never being to busy to pray
O is for overcoming our desire to stray
P is for positives you bring to each
Q is for the quintessential way to teach
R is for your willingness to give us a reason
S is for teaching us to appreciate each season
T is for touching those that sit before you
U is for understanding our fear of all that is so new
V is for the vitality you show each day
W is for every wonderment you bring our way
X is for the extra special teacher we see
Y is for our sense of yearning to be, and
Z is for the big "yahoo" sent from your very own "zoo"!


Author Unknown
In Honor of Teachers
by Ronald Reagan


Teachers, You are the molders of their dreams
The gods who build or crush
Their young beliefs of right or wrong.
You are the spark that sets aflame
The poet's hand or lights the flame
of some great singer's song.

You are the god of the young,
the very young
You are the guardian of a million dreams
Your every smile or frown
can heal or pierce the heart.

You are a hundred lives, a thousand lives.
Yours the pride of loving them
And the sorrow too.

Your patient work, your touch
Make you the goals of hope
Who fill their souls with dreams
To make those dreams come true.
Are You A TRUE Elementary School Teacher?

Let's Find Out:

1. Do you ask guests if they have remembered their scarves and mittens as they leave your home?
2. Do you move your dinner partner's glass away from the edge of the table?
3. Do you ask if anyone needs to go to the bathroom as you enter a theater with a group of friends?
4. Do you hand a tissue to anyone who sneezes?
5. Do you refer to happy hour as "snack time"?
6. Do you declare "no cuts" when a shopper squeezes ahead of you in a checkout line?
7. Do you say "I like the way you did that" to the mechanic who repairs your car nice?
8. Do you ask "Are you sure you did your best?" to the mechanic who fails to repair your car to your satisfaction?
9. Do you sing the "Alphabet Song" to yourself as you look up a number in the phone book?
10. Do you say everything twice? I mean, do you repeat everything?
11. Do you fold your spouse's fingers over the coins as you hand him/her the money at a tollbooth?
12. Do you ask a quiet person at a party if he has something to share with the group?

* If you answered yes to 4 or more, it's in your soul--you are hooked on teaching. And if you're not a teacher, you missed your calling.

* If you answered yes to 8 or more, well, maybe it's *too much* in your soul--you should probably begin thinking about retirement.

* If you answered yes to all 12, forget it--you'll *always* be a teacher, retired or not!
The Teacher

There was a story many years ago of an elementary teacher.
Her name was Mrs. Thompson.
And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.

But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners, he is a joy to be around."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."

After the children left she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.

Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer --the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear , "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."