I had one of the most bizarre occurences happen to me last Friday, and it’s all eerily related to last week’s blog post, I Should Have My Eye on the Ocean. It centered around a day at the beach, and I referenced a line from the movie, Kindergarten cop “Kindergarten is like the ocean. Never turn your back on it.”
Let me digress for a moment to explain that I’ve established a pen-pal relationship with another blogger. Her blog is Reflections…by Kathy. Kathy and I have some kind of psychic connection. There have been more than one occasion where we post about the same topic. We always comment on each other’s blogs but sometimes a topic deserves a longer conversation and for that we resort to email.
The Kindergarten Cop quote was just such an occasion. I don’t recall her exact words but she wrote something to the effect, “You must have been thinking of me. I find it hard to take my eye off the ocean — even if I’m reading a book.”
Well, there I was at the beach Friday. Reading my book – not really that close to the surf when…….
See the wet sand. That’s where we were sitting. Notice the rogue wave encompassed nothing else.
I tossed my towel and my bag with camera and phone in it up to the dry sand but my sunglasses got left behind.
but despite a few war wounds, they survived
OK OK, I’m not dense. I get the message. I’m going to listen to Kathy, and the K-cop. From now on, I’ll read a sentence….check on the ocean…. read a sentence….check on the ocean.
Or maybe I’ll just stick to my local beach.
It’s on a lake.
I’m usually terrible at remembering the names of movies and actors, let alone quoting lines. With one exception – Kindergarten Cop! I’m probably the only person who remembers the movie, let alone quotes a line from this Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Yes, I have, and, warning – I’m about to do so again.
Arnold, an undercover cop, is “teaching” a kindergarten class as part of his cover. When he turns his attention to something or other (see what I mean about remembering movies) the kids, as Kindergarteners are wont to do, see their chance and have a free for all worthy of the food fight scene in Animal House – but without the food.
Another teacher who happens to be his love interest comes in and instantly restores order, than leaves him with the parting words. “Kindergarten is like the ocean. Never turn your back on it.”
Oh how I love this line ! I was a kindergarten teacher at the time the movie came out, and believe me, no truer words were ever spoken. Maybe I’ll have it engraved on my tombstone!
What brought the line to mind? The ocean, of course. I was strolling along the beach and realized the power of the ocean.
Fortunately she’d harnessed it and put it to good use – as a re-decorator.
See this continuous ridge of sand along the beach?
It wasn’t there last year.
And how about these stones?
Have you ever seen anything so perfect and smooth?
I wasn’t the only one taking in the serenity,
So were the year round residents.
You’ll notice the sea gulls are not turning their back on the ocean. I wish I hadn’t either because when I did, I saw a sight that stopped me dead in my tracks. WTF is that? I asked.
Now why would anyone want to come to the beach and wall themselves off from Mother Nature’s marvelous creations
And OMG, – another one!
Where do they sell them? And Why? Why come to the beach if you’re going to sit surrounded by a striped fence? Did they hate the wind? Blowing sand? Want privacy?
I don’t know, I give up. It wasn’t worth getting so worked up over. Besides it was none of my business. As I gave them one last look, another quote came to mind and I sent the thought it conveyed to the enveloped beachgoers.
It was my dad’s old stand-by from the 60’s when the teenaged me would ask him
“Daddy do you like my new hairstyle?”
“Daddy, look at these great bell bottoms!”
“Daddy, look at this mini-skirt I just bought.”
He’d give me his full attention, look carefully, and reply
“As long as it makes you happy, that’s all the matters.”
I’ve been having a recurring nightmare ever since I left teaching. It’s practically the same each time. I am back in my kindergarten classroom early in the morning, in a panic because the principal will be observing me for my yearly evaluation, and not only am I unprepared , but months have passed since I’ve entered one lesson plan in the plan book, the book which the principal will be inspecting as part of my review.
So there I am, frantically filling in all the squares.
That’s Act I, Act II finds me without the pressure of the imminent observation, but similarly unprepared. As a result I’ve run out of off-the-cuff activities and the class slowly deteriorates, one child at a time, into raging chaos.
As a personal disclaimer let me point out that I never found myself in either situation but since I’ve had twenty years to analyze the dream, I’ve come to see how it correlates with my life. The dream only visits me when I find myself enmeshed in a situation over which I have no control. For example, it was a regular part of a night’s sleep in the years I was responsible for my father’s final declining years.Thank goodness, I haven’t had it in a while. So why do I bring it up?
Friday was the start of Chinese Year, The Year of the Horse.
That morning there had been an item in the news about some parents in Chinatown suggesting that the Chinese New Year be made a school holiday in New York City; their argument being that schools are shut down twice a year for the Jewish holidays. Without taking a side, let me point out that the Jewish holidays have always been days off from school ever since I can remember. However this wasn’t because of a majority of Jewish students. No, it was because the majority of NYC teachers were of the Jewish faith. Although I don’t have the figures in front of me, I doubt this is the case today.
But, oh yes, back to the dream….. That evening as I drove home from work, listening to NPR, there was a conversation about the proposed holiday. A caller suggested that perhaps the Board of Education could consider instituting floating holidays like some businesses do. That way children could stay home for whatever holidays are of importance to them. My contribution to the dialogue? “Floating holiday? Aagh. Choke, No No No! ”
It’s a wonder I didn’t have a nightmare that very night! One of the worst things, at least for a kindergarten teacher, and I suspect all levels, is to have a significant percentage of the class absent. Back before vaccinations, when the first child came down with chicken pox or measles a teacher could just kiss goodbye any expectations of having a full class for weeks. What this meant was whatever you taught had to be re-taught. And unless you wanted the children subject to boring repetition
you had to plan a lot of independent activities for the “well” so that when the “formerly unwell returned you could teach them. And measles being measles, this was a shifting population.
The major problem was that for a significant proportion of the first half of the school year, independent activities in Kindergarten are a “Ha! yeah!” proposition. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen the movie Kindergarten Cop where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an undercover cop posing as a kindergarten teacher? Of course it takes him all of three minutes to lose control of the class.
His love interest, a teacher down the hall, comes in and restores control, leaving him with these immortal words of advice (and my favorite movie quote in the whole wide world):
“Always remember Kindergarten is like the ocean. You never turn your back on either of them.”
Pleasant dreams (I hope)