Elementary school is an entirely different world from the reality that most adults like you and I experience every day. Most of us probably don’t remember too much about our years in Kindergarten and grade school, and up until recently I didn’t either. Then I started working as an instructional assistant in an elementary school, more specifically Kindergarten. Within just a few weeks I’ve noticed some things that I think are pretty amusing, but that I also think happen to just about anyone who teaches little kids. Part humor and mostly true if you’re looking into teaching Kindergarten here are six things you can expect to happen.
1. You talk to everyone as though they are five.
Road rage will start to be much less vile and might actually become cute. Irritation at your friends will become obnoxiously adorable. Why? Because once you spend most of your day around Kindergartners you start talking to everyone as though they’re five. “Get out of my way you idiot!” turns into “Do you think interrupting me was a good choice or a bad choice? Is it nice to interrupt people when they talk?”
2. You refer to “we” more often than anyone else.
I’ve noticed that teachers (and now I) talk to kids in a very plural sense. “We don’t hit each other, we share and ask nicely,” and other similar phrases are heard all day long. So when you leave the world that is elementary school and head out into the real world, don’t be surprised if you start saying things like “We really shouldn’t be rude to people who are responsible for our tip,” if you get a rude waitress.
3. Think of the most annoying song you’ve gotten stuck in your head; good news, it’s about to be replaced.
Little kid songs are adorable. That is, when little kids are singing them. But after a couple of weeks walking home and around the house singing “Five Little Ducks” repeatedly, I realized it might actually be a problem. Even after listening to regular music my brain still reverts to the cyclical and irritatingly adorable melodies of Kinderland.
4. You start speaking to people with overly exaggerated expressions.
If your best friend gets a new job it’s probably exciting. But expect to start reacting to things that are even less exciting as though someone won an Oscar. Did your friend get a new nail polish color put on? You’ll find yourself responding with “Wow! Those colors are so very pretty! I see you chose red and blue and yellow! Very nice!” All while making facial expressions suited only for a Disney princess or Minnie Mouse.
5. You begin to realize how much of the English language used in common discussion is slang.
Go ahead. Try to tell a Kindergartner you want to make sure we’re on the same page, in a metaphorical sense, or ask them a rhetorical question. I dare you. Kids have no idea what you’re talking about when you use slang phrases. But that’s more our fault than theirs, seeing as only a small fraction of our language is actually proper English.
6. Your life changes for the better.
There are many funny things that kids do, annoying songs that will get stuck in your head, and days where you want to scream. But at the end of the day your life will absolutely change for the better, because kids are unfiltered truth and purity, which is hard to find in the adult world. You’ll start to notice little things like butterflies more often, because they do, and you’ll learn to be in awe of the world again. If you start working with kids you might be frazzled and exhausted at the end of the day, but you’ll go home with a smile on your face and a lightness in your heart, even if you’ve got cereal on your shirt and paint in your hair. Because kids pretty much rock.