I heard the crying coming from the kindergarten room and said to myself, “Ah, that’s right, today is the first day for the little ones.” Then, passing the doorway on my way to the work room, I saw who was crying – it was one of my students from last year. I had not expected Brayan to cry on the first day!
A kindergarten mom was taking first day photos and the teacher asked her to take him out to the hall for a drink. On my return from the workroom, I quickly realized Brayan was sure he had escaped kindergarten, was looking down the hall for his mom, and was not going to return to the classroom without a struggle. The volunteer-mom wasn’t sure what to do next. “I wasn’t planning on staying long today. Do you think you could take over?”
I held Brayan’s hand and began talking to him and pointing to the window of the classroom nearest us. “Your brother’s classroom is right next door to your kindergarten room. And next week your little brother is going to be in my classroom. Your whole family is going to be at school! Take a peek in this door, see there’s Miguel. Let’s peek in your classroom window and see what they are doing….no we won’t go inside,” I quickly added as he pulled back.
We stood at the window for a long time. I tried to keep my face away from the window because I didn’t want my past students to get distracted by seeing me there. The teacher was guiding them to identify their work spots and their tables and talking about how to be excused and line up; she did not need kids waving and pointing at me.
Brayan was engaged in watching what was happening. I cracked the door a bit so we could both hear better. Then I sort of pulled him in and sat on the floor when he sat down and tried to back out the door. It was then I heard the magic words; his new teacher was saying ” we’re going to visit the cafeteria and then go out to recess.”
By this time, Brayan was noticing some of his friends from preschool and he understood the class was going to do something his preschool class had done a million times last year – line up to go to recess. “Did you bring a sweater?” I asked. He nodded. “Look, everyone is getting their sweaters. Let’s go get your sweater.” I stood up and walked toward the closets. He followed me. I pointed at the names looking for his. “Is this the right closet?” Brayan nodded and opened the door and pulled out his sweatshirt.
Half of the class was lined up by this time, the other half were just about to be called to the line. I moved away from Brayan and towards the teacher. When she moved to go to the head of the line by the door, I passed her and walked out. I didn’t hear a peep from Brayan so I didn’t look back.
I moved down the hall toward the office to make sure his mom wasn’t still in the building and then I waited for the class to pass. When they came, the teacher was holding Brayan’s hand but he wasn’t crying any more and he looked much more confident about being with his classmates and in a routine he was familiar with.