I can't tell you how many times non-kindergarten teachers have said to me, "Oh, it must be SO nice to have your students take a rest during the day." I can totally see where they're coming from. An outsider may think this is a nice, relaxing period of time provided every afternoon for me to plan my activities, check my email, and play an occasional round of Solitaire while my 17 little darlings dream sweet dreams of lollipops and ponies. Wrong. Let's just address this issue of "naptime", shall we?
First of all, five and six-year-olds don't nap. In the world of a kindergartner, to actually fall asleep during the designated naptime would be social suicide. Most of them aren't tired in the least, and even if they are, there is always the fear that if you do doze off your thumb may accidently find its way to your mouth and then...yep...you're playing alone at recess. It's the kids who have to find ways to fight the sleep who drive me the most nuts. Each and every afternoon for those 20 minutes, I deal with the exact same problems:
1. Kleenex Girl
This is the child whose nose is suddenly so excessively runny that she needs to come up to my desk at least four times to get a tissue and wipe. Plus, she obviously needs hand sanitizer after every single trip. Total minutes laying on mat=2; Total minutes wiping and sanitizing=18.
2. Human Vacuum
This particular child makes it her personal mission to find one million TINY specks or crumbs or pieces of hair on the carpet around her mat. She then undoubtedly brings each treasure up to my desk (one at a time) and whispers, "Mrs. Place, what should I do with this?" And do you think I can just say, "LEAVE IT!" No. That would be in direct violation of the litter patrol code of conduct. Yes, I have to approve all, and I mean all, pollution pick-up.
3. "No talking" doesn't mean stop talking. It means talk QUIETER.
One of my personal favorites. You know how there's no crying in baseball? There's no talking at rest time.
4. Deer in the headlights
This happens many times throughout the day. I catch the same kid doing something he clearly knows he's not supposed to do. At rest time this usually means pulling small pieces of foam out of his mat and flicking them at people. Regardless of the circumstance, he always looks at me as if he had no idea he was breaking any sort of rule.
This is the child who spends most of her days floating around somewhere in outer space. (Bless her heart.) It's hard to make the "no talking to the people around you" rule apply when she's just talking to....??? Sometimes she's even humming a little ditty. It's rare that I can ever make out exactly what she's saying, hard as I may strain. I do know that one day she was definitely singing "Baby Got Back." (Second time I've caught a kid on that one.)
Anyway, as you can see, rest time is anything but peaceful and productive around here. Some days I think I should just ditch it all together. Until then..."Okay, boys and girls, our bodies and our voices need to rest."