I have a kindergarten student who is a beautiful, happy, wonderful, dollop of a child, and last week I kicked him in the face.
He has a classic spikey haircut, ears that stick out from his glowing face, and more energy than any child I have ever seen. I kicked him. Right in his smiling noggin.
Combining his adorable facial expressions and enthusiasm with the fact that he’s also one of my smartest kindergarteners, and he is easily one of my favorite students. All of my pudgy five and six year old pretty much get away with everything in my classroom as I just relish in the play time and hugs (a fellow TaLK Scholar compared kindergarten classes to herding cats, another to babysitting)—but this student gets away with even more, because he also settles in to his work so perfectly when it’s time to be serious.
Because he knows he can get away with anything, he’s begun wrapping himself around my legs and hanging there during our daily welcome song while I take turns swinging the hands of the other students all dancing and wiggling about. When the first song is over, and the alphabet song begins, he always hops off to start our class dance (gosh—kindergarten is so adorable.)
But this day, as the alphabet song began, two of my other boys started fighting over who could be closer to the TV screen and as I waddled over to break them apart, I stepped out of the grasp of my little cuddler. Instead of letting go as usual, he held on tighter and only one of my legs escaped his grasp, kicking him in the chin as I went.
I heard the hollow thonk of his teeth crunching together and turned around, expecting blood and already picturing my plane ticket home after being deported for assaulting a child. The student was sitting cross-legged on the floor with wide-eyes staring at me. I bent down to inspect his chin, but he bounced up, and began singing and dancing with his peers who seemed to have noticed nothing. They all leaned to one side balancing on their right feet with arms outstretched, bouncing up and down and singing:
“The D goes dh-dh-dh-dh-dh…”