Someone asked me recently what it is like to teach kindergarten. The analogy that always comes to my mind is the circus. My students often take on the qualities of performers: clowns, acrobats, jugglers, even lions, tigers, and elephants. My classroom sometimes feels like three rings filled with different activities. And I feel like my job is a combination of ring master, lion tamer, and clown. However, the comparisons go a little deeper if you have had any experience with the “behind the scenes” workings of a major circus.
In order to execute the acts that enthrall us at the circus, the acrobats and jugglers and aerial performers must practice, practice, practice.
Before there can be glitter and glamour and dazzling costumes in the ring, there are hours and hours of work to be done by people toiling unseen in a trailer or shop that no one notices.
The same animals that amaze us for a few minutes in the ring must be housed and fed and protected for the rest of the weeks and months and years that they are part of the circus. Their cages must be cleaned. Their training must be continued. And sometimes their tempers must be controlled.
A lot of what we see in the circus is “smoke and mirrors”, fantasy and enchantment.
So if you see our smiling kindergarten faces and hear us singing our silly songs and see our art work in the hall and think “how cute”, or you know what I do and think “how fun”, know that you are only half right. The rest of the story is a lot of practice, hard work, care, control, and cleanup!