Yesterday, as by some fluke, Mother Nature decided winter was over (this morning it's snowing). The temperature climbed into the sixties and I swear, for a moment, it hit seventy. As luck would have it, I’d worn a t-shirt with a hoodie sweatshirt because like most classrooms in America, mine can swing from a penguin habitat to a sweltering desert and back again in about five minutes. That hoodie sweatshirt came on and off more times than I can count, but by bus time it was off permanently.

As I sat in the Rest Stop chair talking to sprouts while they waited for their bus to be called (really, by Friday afternoon in kindergarten, the only place for me is the Rest Stop), Luther came in for a final Friday hug to get him through the weekend. When he moved away from me, he looked down, and as if finding some secret treasure announced, “Mr. _______, you have hair on your arm!”

“Um, yes, I do,” I replied. For the record, I’m not some crazy ape man, just a normal regular guy with some arm hair.

“Why?” He asked as most kindergarteners do when explaining almost anything.

“Well, when you grow up and become a man, you’ll have hair on your arms too,” I explained.

The details of this transformation from boy to man were not in the cards… I’ll save that for the dreaded fifth grade health teacher’s ‘Your Body Is Changing’ talk. Needless to say, Luther’s face look mortified to think he would one day have arm hair.

He then turned his attention to the hair on my head.

“When I become a man, will my hair be curly like yours?” He asked.

A reasonable question from a five-year-old.

“No, some people have red hair, some have blonde hair, and others have brown,” I began as I gently tapped the heads of sprouts with different hair colors.

“Most people have straight hair like you, but a few lucky people have curly hair like me,” I said.

As chance would have it there were no sprouts with curly hair in our class this year, so I really stand out.

Like tiny explorers discovering a new species, the group of children around me all reached up and began feeling my curls. Surely we looked odd, me sitting in the Rest Stop with six small hands atop my head, but in kindergarten, strange is usually the norm.

Like an alarm waking them out of a deep slumber, the secretary in the office announced the next group of busses and they were out the door.


Jennifer said...

I teach 5th grade, it happens every year "Can I touch your hair? I never felt a white person's hair before. It looks like it would be soft." Yeah, I let them run their hand through my hair.
Then we had to go through the whole "not every white person hair feels the same" and "don't go around asking people to touch their hair, they might think it's creepy" talk.

Anonymous said...

one of my colleagues had a student ask her this week: Miss, why does your hair look like macaroni?

for a 2nd grade child in her second year of english, that is quite a statement!

Anonymous said...

Last year I had a student announce to her reading group: "Mrs. _______ has hair in her armpits!" I was very confused and asked what made her say that. She knowing said, "all grown ups do."

Anonymous said...

I had a student discover that he has hair in his nose. It ws a classic!

I work in a primarily african american population, and they are all obsessed with my hair. It's long, curly, and auburn. My hair is so tangled from little fingers at the end of the day!