My kindergarten classroom was huge, it seemed to me, with shiny plastic tables and chairs and a blue square rug in the middle of the room. Of course, I was fascinated, this being my first time in a classroom. Every day at 8:30, our parents would drop us off outside the door, and we would all line up against the wall until the teacher opened the door. Once everyone was inside, the teacher would call the class together, and we would all sit cross-legged in a circle around the rug, alternating boy-girl-boy-girl, learning each other’s names, the classroom rules, and most importantly, how to read and write. Eager to learn this mysterious and fantastic art, we were all disappointed to discover we would have to learn to properly hold a pencil before we could even begin to copy out our names.

The teacher handed us each a little beat-up wipe-board and a fat black dry-erase marker. He instructed us to hold our markers just so in our hands, this finger curled around here, that finger leaned against the side of the marker. Our tiny fingers struggled to get it right. I, however, was happy and confident - my parents had already shown me the correct way of holding a pencil during evenings spent at the kitchen table, practicing. I carefully picked up my marker and adjusted it in my hand, gripping it tightly, then looking around to see if everyone else was holding theirs the same way, not wanting to make a mistake.

The teacher began coming slowly around the circle, showing us his example and making sure we had it right.

“No, not like that!” I told the boy sitting next to me, shoving my hand in front of his face to show him, while attempting to pull his fingers into the correct formation.

The boy on my other side looked around at me. His name was Theo, a know-it-all with sandy blond hair. We had never liked each other. On the first day of school, he had been the one constantly kicking my chair, even though I kept yelling at him to stop. In return, I had knocked down the tower he had spent a half hour making out of blocks. We were always competing, racing to be the first in line, seeing who could read faster (although neither of us could really read), draw better, hang upside down for longer.

“You’re the one who has it wrong!” he crowed. “You are supposed to hold the marker in your other hand!”

My face burned red with embarrassment. I nervously glanced around. Although I was determined to be a better writer than Theo, I had to admit that he was right. Everyone else in the class was holding their markers in their other hand! I fumbled with the marker, dropping it in my lap. I picked it back up quickly, switching hands. My parents had never mentioned that it mattered what hand you held your pen in!

Hearing the commotion, my teacher began walking over to us. Now I was terrified. I knew he would punish me for using the wrong hand. He would lock me in the closet and never let me go out to the playground ever again! And then Theo would laugh at me forever!

I felt tears welling up in my eyes. “No!” I shouted at Theo. “I can do it any way I want to! I don’t have to listen to you, bossy pants!”

“Calm down,” the teacher said, stepping in front of me. “What’s going on?”

Before I could catch my breath and begin to explain, Theo began to talk.

“She was holding it in the wrong hand!” he announced, pointing at me. “She had it in this hand, like this, not the right way. I was just helping her to do it right.”

“Theo, sit down please,” the teacher said. “You had it right before,” he continued, turning to me. “It doesn’t matter what hand you hold your marker in, as long as hold your fingers the right way.” He picked up the marker and put it in my left hand.

My fears of a few seconds ago had vanished. Ha, Theo, I thought. I was right and you were wrong. Relieved and triumphant, I printed my name as neatly as I knew how on my little wipe-board, turned to Theo, and stuck my tongue out at him.

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Lydia said...
Jun. 28, 2012 at 9:30 am
So funny and cute! :D
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