When I was in Kindergarten I was a very well-behaved child. Actually my whole life I’ve been very well-behaved. I pride myself on always following the rules, always doing what was right, and in middle school I would actually use that as a way to look down on people. (I had/have an I’m-better-than-you complex)(I was a terrible child in middle school, but then again, who wasn’t?)
Anyway, I was a good kid, even when I was really little. And I’ve always prided myself on being the good kid.
In Kindergarten we had this system of cards at the front of the room. Everyone had their name on an envelope with a couple of laminated colored cards in them. At the beginning of every day the card on top was green. If you did something bad, the green card got taken away and the one underneath would be showing, a yellow. If you misbehaved again the same thing would happen and a yellow with an angry face would be showing, and if you misbehaved again there would be a red card showing.
We knew that at some point in this card system your parents got called and at another point you had to go to the principal’s office, but as Kindergartners we weren’t really sure. And I, being the good kid, wasn’t going to be the one to find out.
There was one day we were working on this little kindergarten project (I don’t remember what) and I was feeling really happy because my best friend in the whole entire world was coming over to play after school that day. School has always been really easy for me, especially in Elementary school, so whatever we were working on that day was a breeze. I was relaxed and excited and I started humming to myself. Just a little song. I don’t think it was even a real song, I was just humming.
My teacher came over to my table to help the girl next to me. She was kind of slow and often needed help (I don’t remember who it was but I do remember that). At first I thought maybe I was being too disruptive with my humming, but no, Mrs. Piper just was helping the girl next to me.
And I was humming.
Then something happened. Here’s where it gets fuzzy. You know when you make a mistake you go back over the situation again and again in your mind, trying to figure out what really happened? That afternoon way back in Kindergarten I went over this moment again and again. I don’t remember what’s real and what I thought happened.
Here’s what I do remember: I was humming and working hard, the girl next to me was struggling and getting help from the teacher, and then I got two cards pulled.
Two cards. I was down to the one with the angry face.
I didn’t understand how it happened. I’m a good kid! But I freaked out, because my friend was coming over after school and I was afraid that if Mrs. Piper told my mom I was bad that day my mom wouldn’t let my friend come over. I remember sitting in my room, crying and apologizing, though what I was apologizing for I don’t know.
I think what happened is that Mrs. Piper thought I was laughing at the girl getting help. But I wasn’t, I was humming some sort of nonsense. Completely in my own little world. What I think happened was she asked me to stop laughing and pulled a card, I didn’t understand (because I was humming, not laughing) so I kept doing what I had been doing, and then she pulled another card.
This situation still frustrates me. To this day. I would never laugh at someone who needed help. I was just a happy little five-year-old, excited to see her friend after school.
I wonder how Mrs. Piper saw it.