Last week I saw a blurb on Facebook, a kids-these-days piece, in which a kindergarten teacher was shaking his head about the answer one of his students gave on a test.
This reminded me of my early school days. I went to year round school. Back in the day, California had money, and there were classes offered during our 3 weeks off. I remember taking a nutrition class when I was either in kindergarten or early first grade.
We had these full color worksheets of exercises to do after the teacher finished each lesson segment. We were being taught about what foods fit into the different categories: fruits, veggies, meat, and dairy. There were rows of different pictures, and we had to pick the right option.
There I was, dutifully going through my worksheet and making selections because I had to, but I knew my answers wouldn’t be right. I remember feeling okay with the fact that they would be wrong, and not at all frustrated. After everyone had finished, we went through all the answers as a group. The teacher would read the question aloud, and someone would be chosen to answer.
As soon as the teacher read the question, I would go through quickly and circle the answer I thought was right. Once the correct answer was announced – it often wasn’t what the first “volunteer” gave – I would feel so proud of myself and what I had chosen the second time.
When I first remembered this class, it all seemed so odd. I have lots of memories of when I was little – living in different places, almost getting hit by a car – but at first I couldn’t figure out what was happening. Why would I complete the worksheet and then go back and circle the another answer BEFORE the right answer was given?
Then it dawned on me: I took the class before I could read. Little me would have no way of knowing what was being asked. I was used to not being able to read, so there was no frustration there. Once I knew what they wanted, I could choose the correct picture, even quickly enough so the teacher probably didn’t notice what was going on. I even remember being pleasantly surprised when my sheer guess resulted in the correct answer.
What really surprises me about this particular memory is that it is so clear about what my life was like before I passed my first major academic milestone – learning to read.
My guess is that is what happened with the rainbow example above. Those are some really tough words for 5-year-olds to be able to read.
Does anyone else have lots of memories from an early age? Or Does it surprise anyone that little Tammy would want to take a class during her time off from school (although I’m sure Ma had a lot to do with that!)?