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How teaching early ed is like an 80's song

Forever Young by Alphaville - Forever young, I want to be forever young

I grew up in the 80’s. I’m a complete sucker for 80’s music. Lately, as I listen to my massive collection of 80’s tunes, I started thinking, being an early ed teacher is a lot like an 80’s song.

Safety Dance by Men Without HatsWe can dance if we want to, We can leave your friends behind
 'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
, Well they're no friends of mine

In kindergarten, we dance. If you don’t dance, well, come into my room and you will shortly. I will not be the only adult dancing!

Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles - All the kids in the marketplace say 
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh 
Walk like an Egyptian

Walking down the hallway with a gaggle of five-year-olds in tow is a science. Keeping them relatively calm and quiet is a no small undertaking. We tiptoe, wave our arms, and yes, walk like an Egyptian… hey, kindergartners think it’s hilarious.

Hold Me Now by The Thompson Twins - Hold me now, warm my heart

stay with me, let loving start (let loving start)

Littles love to hug. They practically beg to be hugged. Sometimes they 'attack hug' - there will be no child near me and suddenly, there is - arms wrapped around my waist, smiling up at me. And the hugs are contagious. When one hugs you, you will have a line of children waiting to follow suit.

Abracadabra by The Steve Miller Band - Abra-abra-cadabra, I want to reach out and grab ya, Abra-abra-cadabra, Abracadabra

There is magic in just about everything we do. Finished a book, applause! Turn white flowers blue with food coloring and water, applause! Make symmetrical paintings by painting half the paper and folding it, applause! You get the idea.

Vacation by The Go Go’sVacation, All I ever wanted, Vacation, Had to get away

There’s no denying it. Teachers need vacations. A lot of it too. We need my time off to relax, regroup and recharge.

Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler - I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light, He's gotta be sure, And it's gotta be soon, And he's gotta be larger than life, larger than life

Like it or not, when you teach young children, you are a hero… Plain and simple. I wear my cape with pride. Let it be noted, heroes deserve competitive pay, humane working conditions, and respect from the community.

Voices Carry by Til Tuesday - hush hush, keep it down now, voices carry

You can try with all your might, but teaching early ed means learning to love the voices. What you learn is the 'noise' means they are learning. A quiet room in early ed is not a good sign of engaged, excited learners.

Manic Monday by The Bangles - Six o'clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream...

Monday mornings, sitting around the carpet, when I say, "Good Morning! Today is Monday..." and then I have to sing the first few lines of this. Every. Single. Monday.

I had a sprout ask me, 'What is that song?' and then I gave them a history lesson about The Bangles - the all-female band from my childhood... and sing a little bit of Eternal Flame because it's just such a jam.

I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters - I'm so excited and I just can't hide it

I'm about to lose control and I think I like it

Littles are excited by just about anything… and they do have a propensity to lose control… every once in a while, it can be freeing to let yourself behave like a five-year-old. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

True Colors by Cyndi Lauper - You with the sad eyes, Don’t be discouraged,
Oh I realize, It’s hard to take courage In a world full of people, You can lose sight of it all, And the darkness inside you, Can make you feel so small, But I see your true colors, Shining through I see your true colors,
And that's why I love you, So don't be afraid to let them show, Your true colors, True colors are beautiful, Like a rainbow

If nothing else, I want my sprouts to hear these words and know how true they are. Have I sung it to them on occasion? Absolutely.

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House - Hey now, hey now, Don't dream it's over

We spend almost ten months together. Learning to lean on each other. Growing to love each other. Each year, as the last day approaches, the hugs increase. There are tears. We learn what the word 'bittersweet' means. I always tell my students, crying about the end means we had an amazing year.

231 views5 comments


Jun 28, 2021

Hi Matt!

Must have music and engaged chatty learners!!

Thank you for sharing your favorites!!


Jun 22, 2021

Thanks for the musical flashbacks! Love them all!

Matt Halpern
Matt Halpern
Jun 23, 2021
Replying to

Thank you!


This was AWESOME! I feel like it gave me permission to be me in the classroom. Thank you ❤️

Matt Halpern
Matt Halpern
Jun 22, 2021
Replying to

Awe, thank you for sharing that with me! 😀

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