Summer 2017 | Artwork by 3rd Grade Students | Cair Paravel Latin School, Topeka, KS

How hard can kindergarten be?

A substitute’s story

Logos School, Moscow, ID

Logos School, Moscow, ID

“How hard can that be?” I thought after being called to sub for kindergarten. I knew the get-out-of-class tactics such as, “Can I get a book?” or “May I get a drink of water?” Kindergarten teachers solve that one by taking them all at the same time. So, at the appropriate time I clapped my hands and said, “Okay gang, line up, it is time to go to the bathroom.”


No one moved. They just looked at me. Finally one of them said, “You can’t do it like that.”

“Why not?” I said.

“You have to call the line leader.” I called the line leader. Still no one moved.

“What?” I said.

“You have to call the door holder!” I called the door holder. Nothing happened. After a pause, another child said, “You have to call us by rows.” Ah, rows. “Row 1.” Movement!

I confidently called the other two rows, when a child came up and said, “I am a door holder too.” I was lost again. So I said, “Why?”

“I hold the next door we go through.” Right, of course. The line was formed, but didn’t move. I then learned about the “line ender.” And we went to the bathroom.

As a “sub” teaching multiple grades, I get to see a great education in its entirety — even if I don’t always get it. The shaping and appreciation for order and decency starts in kindergarten in an external form. Over the years that discipline is internalized so that students can think and study on their own without any prompting. In addition to teaching our children what they need to know, teachers create an atmosphere for learning. Kindergartners like to have line leaders. This understanding of the heart and soul of students is part of the beauty of classical education. ACCS_graphic_sm1

BRIGETTA ESHLEMAN, substitute teacher, New Covenant Schools, Lynchburg, VA

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Angie Brennan, Rockbridge Academy, MD

Angie Brennan, Rockbridge Academy, MD