Say hi to First Grade Me.
During the process of redecorating and moving things around to make this office space and playroom, I came across this picture and a portfolio I had to create for one of my introductory teaching courses. I’m not sure why I used a picture of me in the first grade in the portfolio, but I can imagine it had something to do with this being one of the only pictures I had available. Or it was because of how idealistically I remember viewing the world back then.
Well, what I can remember from back then, that is. It was 2.5 decades and two children ago. I’ve slept and also not slept since then.
But I do remember a few things.
I remember being in the advanced reading group and arguing with the teacher about how to spell my last name. She insisted there was a Z in it and even wrote it with a Z on my reader. I, in all of the righteous indignation a first grader can muster, insisted that there was NOT a Z in my last name. She looked it up. I was correct. The next day I had a new reader.
I also remember when corporal punishment was still a thing.
We had assigned seats at lunch and mine was next to this girl I didn’t like. She wouldn’t talk to me. Every day I sat there with my Care Bears lunchbox and she leaned down the table to talk to people on the other side of us, lifting her butt out of the seat like we weren’t supposed to do.
So one day, while she had her first grade butt lifted in the air, I moved her chair. She splatted onto the floor in the cafeteria and begain wailing like I’d broken her tailbone and crushed her life.
Our teacher heard her cries (as did the rest of the world, I’m certain) and came rushing over to see what had happened. I played innocent, but she saw through me. She knew I’d been up to no good.
I cracked in about .02 seconds. Hey, I was 6.
We left the cafeteria and made the single-file walk back to our classroom, me beside the teacher at the back of the line. When we arrived, she told me to stand on the wall just outside the classroom door. So I did.
After she got the class settled, she came back out into the hallway with me, paddle in her hands. And we waited. In order to paddle me, she needed another adult present. The other first grade class had art after lunch and their teacher was taking her sweet, sweet time returning to her room.
I, meanwhile, was sweating bullets in that hallway.
Eventually, my teacher got tired of waiting for her neighbor’s return and took me back inside the classroom.
I lost all of my popsicle sticks and missed recess for an entire week, but I had dodged the paddling bullet. Hooray!
I never pulled a chair out from underneath anyone ever again. And I had a new seat at lunch for the rest of the year, right next to my first grade best friend.