10.27.2010

Pants.

The uniform of a kindergarten teacher is a curious thing. As a teacher, I want to command respect and wear clothes that show my reverence for my students and job. On the other hand, as a kindergarten teacher, I’m moving, dancing, stretching, kneeling (a lot!), running, bending, and sitting in all manner of ways.

Much of my day is spent on the floor. The floor of a kindergarten classroom is not a sanitary place. Glitter, glue, paper scraps, and God knows what else falls to the floor each day before our saintly custodian fastidiously cleans it each evening.

With so much movement and potential stain inducing elements, what’s a guy to do?

There is no formal dress code at my school, but the basic unwritten rule is no jeans except for Fridays. I’m not sure what is different about my teaching on Fridays that allows for jeans on that day only, but I take it for what it is and relish my chance to wear comfortable pants one day a week.

The other day, I was working with a small group of sprouts on letter identification. We each had a small white board and dry erase marker. I was writing and erasing, calling out letters, modeling handwriting, and watching my friends work closely. As often happens in a small group setting, I was not stationary for long. In my moving here and there to get a good look, work hand over hand, and give everyone the attention they needed, my purple (why oh why did I use purple?) dry erase marker swiped against my thigh.

As I looked down at the offending mark on my khaki pants (alas, it wasn’t a Friday), my first thought was, ‘Ah, who cares? It’ll wash out.’

Little did I know, dry erase marker does not wash out of khaki pants. I even bought some supposedly magic stain removing concoction. Nothing worked. I actually washed my pants three times in one day, something I’ve never done before in my life. The stain faded only slightly, but it’s still there, clear as day.

Those khaki pants were not cheap. You don’t throw away khaki pants due to a purple dry erase stain when you earn a kindergarten teacher’s salary. It’s no Purple Heart, but when I wear those pants now and glance down at the blemish, I look at it as my own medal for the work I do each day.

18 comments:

Deborah said...

LOL - Just turn the mark into something else like a shape or a word! At least you can make it look like something you did on purpose! Or I suppose you could dye the pants purple!!

futureflstar said...

Matt, This may sound weird but try regular hand soap or Dawn dish detergent.
Both work magic for some reason. :)

Anonymous said...

My friend down the hall was working with small groups using shaving cream on the table tops to practice writing letters. She leaned over to the student across from her to "help" him and when she sat up again, she had two, white, shaving cream targets on her b_ _ bs! The worse part was that she didn't notice for a while and isn't sure how long she walked around like that!

Mrs. Fine said...

Your post made me curious so I did some research on the Internet...did you try sunscreen or rubbing alcohol together with hairspray? Apparently blotting with that works for some people. I watched some fascinating videos. ;-)

ccobb23 said...

My slacks today have a real nice yellow marker dot from school. Oh well...

Ms. Jessi said...

Same goes for preschool. And skirts/dresses for lady teachers don't fly very well. I hear your pain. First day of school this year we had a student pee on the floor. While one teacher was taking care of him, I was in charge of cleaning up the mess. After my clean-up I used bleach water to sanitize the floor. The lid wasn't screwed on tight enough, and it splashed all over my (new) shirt!
Wear those pants proudly!

Abbi Griffin said...

I wore black pants and a child gave me a wonderful hug and then got white flour hand prints on my rear end. They never quite washed out.

Colleen said...

I have a few pairs of pants with marker on them. I just designate those pants as school pants and keep going. The kids don't care and then you still get your money's worth out of them! As for skirts, I wear them and sit on the floor and do all kinds of kindergarten-y things in them. I just try to avoid wearing the expensive skirts when we paint, but otherwise, it's all part of why we do what we do. Passionate about teaching even in our clothes!

Linda said...

Worse than stains on your pants are the kindergarten or preschool teachers who wear designer clothes, heels and long fingernails and never even look messed up. I have to wonder how in the world they can do their job with little ones!

Megan said...

The dish detergent solution usually works pretty well (even with dry erase markers)...my kiddos take pride in drawing on staff...and they're in middle school.

Ayn Colsh said...

We have a dress code that is twice as strict as the one in our local public school district. Jeans only once a month (and often those are holidays that the pre-k teachers don't work). I have to dress business casual, but almost everything I have has a little badge of honor somewhere. It's part and parcel of the trade, and I'm proud that I CAN get messy every day!

Anonymous said...

wowww nice one. It is especially suitable w big boys. I think so;))

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Haha, such a true post! We have an unwritten rule about jeans only on Friday too. I think its kind of pointless myself since sometimes I have jeans nicer than my black pants, but whatever :)

Not that this would apply to you but I'm always confused by the teachers I see wearing high heels- hello, don't you run after kids all day?!

Lydia Kang said...

Maybe you should just invest in rainbow-themed pants so the stains just blend in.
Oh, I guess "clown pants" wouldn't be dress code either.
:)
Found your blog from Theresa's. I've come to haunt and be a new follower!

Scott said...

I was a weekday preschool director in a church and was told I had to dress professionally since I interacted with parents who were business professionals. At the time I had pants that were dry cleaned. (I don't anymore!) I often wanted to tell them to just dry clean from the knees down. That's where little hands (and noses) always rubbed against me.

Jessica S. said...

I ♥ jeans on Friday. We have school polo shirts that we can wear with our jeans! I say make every day jean day!
Sorry about your khaki's. My favorite khaki's got washed with my daughters clothes, and came out with some stain on the ankle - about the size of a grapefuit. Bummer. I still wear them. :)

Cindy said...

Kindergarten truly is the best place on Earth!

I swear by hairspray for any ink ~ even if they've been washed. Sometimes you may have to do it a couple of times, but it does the trick. We even got black permanent marker out of our cream carpets.

Ms.M said...

One of the many reasons I sick to black pants.