Having taught grades 1, 2, and 3, entering the world of kindergarten this fall was daunting. I knew it would be different than teaching older grades. I knew there would be a lot of modeling, teaching, re-teaching, and more re-teaching. I knew they would need more…..but talk about ground Z-E-R-O. It wasn’t long (like by morning recess) before the reality set in; we had a long, long way to go.
I recalled many conversations with my colleagues during the three years prior when I was the instructional coach as they would share with me how unbelievable the growth of kindergartners is every year. They shared countless stories of students who arrived in September knowing little or no letter names and sounds, and yet by year’s end not only did they know all of them, but they were beginning to decode CVC words.
I could hear the stories, and I even believed them. But it didn’t become as impacting until it was my turn as the classroom teacher to sit next to more than one student in September who knew very few, if any letter names and sounds. I truly questioned my ability as their teacher to get them where they needed to be in 180 days.
Tomorrow we reach 140 days, and the growth in my students is truly remarkable. I am absolutely astonished at what I am seeing in my classroom. We are reading, writing, sharing, and playing the days away — and as the days have passed to weeks, and finally to months, they are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were in September. Their level of independence in reading and writing is thrilling to behold. We are currently writing poetry, and every day is a new adventure for all of us.
Graduation day is around the corner and I cannot wait to help each of them prepare something special to share with their families as a capstone of their kindergarten year. I am so excited to see their excitement and pride in their hard work, and bask in the joy of sharing it with the families of everyone in our class. We are a tight group, as we have had only one child leave our class early in the year, but have had no new students join us. We truly are a family, and the celebration we will share of this childhood milestone will be a day I know I will hold in my heart always, and one I hope my 19 students will as well.