Sunday, May 13, 2012

When I Was Little: Kindergarten Cutting

When I was little, I was already a perfectionist. I already knew how to read before I started kindergarten, so my kindergarten teacher would occasionally let me do little jobs for her. Almost any time she got something laminated, she would ask me to cut out whatever it was. One time she got a huge pile of rolls of things that had been laminated. She asked me to cut out some of it. Since she said some I asked her how much. She told me, "Just keep cutting until I tell you to stop." Ok, simple enough. So, I went over to the carpet, and I happily began cutting out laminated stuff. That may have been the moment that I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I loved the way the scissors glided through the laminating film. I loved the way the slick laminate felt. I loved how shiny it made all of our artwork look. I loved how I had no idea what the other kids were doing because I was totally immersed in cutting out all of this shiny, slippery stuff. It was just me, the huge pile of laminate, and the brightly colored rug that was ticking the space between my socks and pants where the skin was bare. The kneeling position I was in made my pants bunch up under my knees. I was happy.

"OK, everyone line up for music!" I did not budge. I kept cutting. She told me to keep cutting until she said stop. The class lined up. Someone turned out the lights, and off they marched. I stayed in my kneeling position on the carpet, happily cutting away. I was in there a long while. I never got tired of gliding those scissors along the paper lines. I never got tired of piling the extra laminating film next to me on one side and laminated stuff on the other. I just kept going. It must have been 15 minutes later before my teacher walked into the room. She turned on the lights, and I stopped cutting for a second - only because my eyes had to adjust to the new light. Once the spots went away I noticed my teacher staring at me.

"Amber, what are you doing in here?"
"You told me to cut until you said stop."

I do not know that I even knew what lying was at that point in my life. I don't think I even would have known what it was - much less how to do it. I was very honest, and my teacher knew it. She kind of chuckled and asked if I wanted to keep cutting or go to music for a little while. I honestly can't remember which one I chose.

I recently taught a leave of absence in the school where my kindergarten teacher who is now a 5th grade teacher works. She introduced me as her former kindergarten student to her class when I came to revive her computer. I told this story to the class. She laughed, and she said, "I had forgotten all about that!" I laughed, and I said, "Oh, I remember that very well."

She e-mailed me later that day to let me know that I was the only student she ever trusted to cut out her laminated stuff. I smiled really wide. My head grew three sizes. I was happy.

P.S. I still love cutting out laminated stuff. :)

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