In a chaotic world, second-graders seem to have it all figured out

Published 6:28 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019


Contributing columnist

As I considered the vast number of subjects from which to choose this week, I faced a conundrum: I could once write about a politician who I find dangerous/ignorant/vapid/hateful. The list of options is seemingly endless. Trump had a meltdown over a rerun of Saturday Night Live last weekend, then disrespected a dead senator-war-hero, again. Bevin hates teachers. Bevin sycophant, Wayne Lewis, czar of pillaging public education in Kentucky, wants the names of professional educators who participated in the sick out.

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There are the ongoing attacks on mosques all around the world. The terrorist attack in New Zealand is horrific in and of itself. It’s made even worse that the terrorist noted the American president as someone he idolizes.

The bad news is infinite.

So is the good news!

I am in my second month of substitute teaching in the Danville school system. I dreaded the thought of going back into substituting for many reasons. The experience has been the opposite of what I expected.

I’ve subbed in eighth-grade science and math at Bate. I am still incapable of doing algebra. My palms got sweaty and my heart raced when I saw the word “trinomial” on the worksheet. A student asked for my help. I told him I could help him with English, science or music, but God was laughing at my being in a math class. The student snickered and asked a fellow classmate for help. Whew!

Kindergarten wasn’t as fun as it used to be. They are regular, albeit tiny, students in tiny desks learning irregular kindergarten material. (Please see last week’s column for that screed.)

Fifth grade seems to be what seventh grade was when I taught back in the day. They are restless and starting to test boundaries. They vacillate between sweet elementary and hormonal pre-teen in a nanosecond.

But last week, I spent two days in a second-grade classroom.  Those kids have it figured out. They love being recognized for doing well. Coloring is still fun, they love to read and can’t wait for recess.  And they are still shorter than me.

I posted this list on my Facebook page so some of you may have already read it, but I want to share with the larger audience in order to show that kids are still kids.

My thoughts and observations on second graders:

1. They ask A LOT of questions!

2. They seem to have an alarming number of bleeding incidents. Not bad, but microscopic amounts of blood require a trip to the office for an amputation or a Band-Aid.

3. They lose teeth.

4. They are obsessed with their noses.

5. They are equally obsessed with Kleenex.

6. They are sweet.

7. They still cry.

8. They need to go to the restroom/get water as soon as they get back from going to the restroom/getting water.

9. They are sweet.

10. I can do their math.

The next time world events seem overwhelming, chaotic and hopeless, remember that we still have little people who love Crayons, picture books and recess.

We could all use a new pack of Crayons, couldn’t we?

G. Elaine Wilson-Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.