“Ben,” Mrs. Casey said in her sweet southern twang. “That glue is never going to dry.”
Mrs. Casey is the teacher’s assistant for my son’s kindergarten class, and I had just finished my first shift as room-mom for Mrs. Schiffern, Kaleb’s teacher. I had been asked to supervise a group of four children as they decorated two gingerbread men with red and green sparkle glue.
Mrs. Casey was looking first at Ben’s page, his two gingerbread men hidden behind gobs of glue, to Kate’s page, then to Jonathan’s and Carter’s. “None of these are going to dry.” Her hands were now on her hips as she looked at each of the children with eyebrows drawn. Then she looked straight at me and, still talking to the children, said, “You know we’re not supposed to use that much sparkle glue.”
Every day the kids in Mrs. Schiffern’s class break into small groups and go to their “centers” where they all participate in a learning activity. I was asked to come and man one center on Wednesday mornings. How hard can it be? I had thought. I went to graduate school. And this is just kindergarten.
And here I sat at the end of our first center, elbow to elbow with Mrs. Casey as we scooped sparkle glue from the gingerbread men with plastic spoons. “I guess I should have given you more direction,” she said.
“Maybe I should work at a less-advanced center,” I said.
“Maybe,” she said.
I’m sure teachers and TA’s alike love any type of volunteer they can get their hands on, but I think that day Mrs. Schiffern and Mrs. Casey had second thoughts when Leah and I left our post for the first time mid-December.
But they continue to allow us to “help” on Wednesday mornings. In fact, just yesterday I was allowed back at the craft table where the kids glued small triangles of colored construction paper into an imaginary quilt square. We finished the task without event, that is, until I got up to put my coat on. I knocked a desk organizer off Mrs. Schiffern’s desk, scattering pens, pencils, erasers and scissors everywhere. I dropped to my knees to clean them up.
Mrs. Casey looked at me, smiling. “We just can’t take you anywhere, can we?”
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I guess I’m not much of a volunteer.”
“You’re entertaining anyway,” she said.
Wait until they hear that I plan to enroll Leah in Mrs. Schiffern’s class next year. So while it looks like Kaleb will move on to first-grade without question, I’ll be held back.