Today, for some reason, as I perused the produce section of the grocery store, I craved an orange. I’m not a big orange fan, so I just picked up a single loose one. I put it in the seat portion of my cart with my gloves and other produce and then finished my shopping.
When I got to the checkout line, in the whirlwind to unpack my cart, I had forgotten about my lone orange. As I pushed my cart through to the bagger, I noticed the orange and pulled it from under my gloves.
“Whoa, I almost stole an orange,” I said to the cashier.
“Yes, I can see the headlines, a… well, what do you do for a living?” She asked interrupting herself.
“I’m a teacher… I teach kindergarten,” I confessed.
Her eyes lit up at the prospect of her punch line.
“Kindergarten teacher arrested for theft of orange!” She laughed.
Suddenly, the bagger’s interested was piqued.
“Wait, you teach kindergarten?” She asked.
“Yup, I do,” I said.
“Well, my daughter is four, she’s in preschool two days a week… do you think that’s enough? What do you think she needs to know to be ready for kindergarten? She can write her name, but doesn’t know all her letters yet, is that enough? What about numbers?” She literally rattled off questions.
I tried to answer her the best I could. Her eyes were pleading… obviously she was concerned she was doing the best for her daughter. Clearly, she viewed me as an expert.
It never ceases to amaze me the way as soon as my profession is revealed, I’m viewed as a childhood development expert. While I’ve read Chip Wood’s Yardsticks a few times, and I do have a few years of experience working with young children under my belt, for sure, I’m no Dr. Spock. I’m always willing to share my opinions, but I also worry I’m giving inaccurate information. A little trick I use is always finishing with, ‘That’s just my opinion…’ because it is.
Yes Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility… today I was reminded, even when I leave the classroom, I’m still ‘on’ and that orange… I didn’t mean to almost steal it, really.
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