Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SGW: Teachers Know EVERYTHING

Today's Special Guest Writer is The Bride.  You may remember her from our ill-fated evening of swilling, spitting, moderate behavior and overall good manners (also known as the T-Box Taste Test).  Or the post Kate wrote about the Indoor Homeless People acting up at her friend's wedding

The Bride is slightly nauseating, I should warn you.  Beautiful to the point of being disgusting, a unrepentant nerd and football fan (Green Bay) as well as being completely down to earth, funny and nice.  I fell in love with her when I realized she was the only person I knew who loved the song "I'm Awesome" as much as I do.  She also teaches Kindergarten and was thought just maybe she could tell us a few things about our kids from her perspective.  She was kind enough to oblige and for that we are very grateful.

But oh dear LORD.  Fasten your selt belts because it's exactly as bad as you think.

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Kate told me in passing one day that I should write something about being a kindergarten teacher for Rants from MommyLand. For a while I kind of ignored it, pushing it to the back of my mind… But honestly? I’m honored. I love Kate (for many of the same reasons you do, but for so many more reasons, too!). And I love Lydia, especially since we just decided we’re going to skip that whole “getting to know you” phase & go straight to being good friends. Okay. Deal. Awesome. I would love to write something.

Because I am not a Mom. By any means. I am very much not a Mom. I come home to three crazy dogs, Facebook, & “The Sims 3” most days. I obsess over “Harry Potter” as if it were actually real. I refuse to grow up (I’m currently wearing a Tinkerbell T-Shirt & PJ pants that are decorated with Iron Man, the Hulk, Spiderman, Thor & Captain America. My vows suddenly make more sense, don’t they?) So. Yeah. Far from being a Mom.

But I do teach Kindergarten. Which means that for 8 hours a day, I’m with 22 of the cutest, most annoying, very precocious, inquisitive, gassy, fidgety, helpful, lazy, hungry, whiney, bathroom obsessed kids on the planet. They’re my class. And they very well could be your kids. And I love them.

Okay. That’s a lie. Secret, Moms? Teachers don’t always love their class. We love most of our class, most of the time. I consider myself lucky with the group of kids I have this year – we haven’t had any major issues, and we didn’t have ONE case of head lice ALL STINKIN’ YEAR! That’s huge.
Whether I liked my kiddos every single second or not, I learned a great deal from every single one of them. I’ve also realized that with all of the Power I’ve acquired this year, knowing lots of details about each of the families in my room, I’ve got quite a bit of Responsibility as well.

I knew I’d learn a lot my first year teaching, about how the school works, about the incredible group of Kindergarten teachers and aides I work with everyday, the type of teacher I really want to be, how to give Math tests and Language Arts tests, how to teach kids who don’t speak English, how to tie shoes in under 3 seconds flat, how to get kids to stop crying & start laughing when they’re in a lot of pain, how to hear 3 kids talk to you at the same exact time & respond to each of them without skipping a beat. Tricks of the trade. I started this year off completely a sponge, ready to take in as much as possible.

If I only knew what I was getting myself into.

So I feel the only responsible thing for me to do is send a warning to you Moms (& Cap’n & McLovin), to remind you that your kids have no mute button. They say what they feel, what they think, no matter who is around. So keep this in mind this summer, when you’re on long road trips, sipping Coronas on the beach (I’ve seen pictures that prove you do this during Show & Tell), getting pulled over by the cops (those are my personal favorite stories), going to see Mean Aunt Ursula, eating McDonald’s everyday for lunch, or never putting sunscreen on your kids (ahem, Kate…) their teacher will learn every bit of this in the fall.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned this year…

Your age. This is usually covered within the first week of school, but occasionally pops up when it’s your birthday. It’s a fun, “Let’s get to know my new classmates – HEY MY MOM IS OLD!” kind of thing. At the beginning of the year, most of the kids don’t really know each other’s names, so it’s not a big deal. But by the end of the year, remember this: When your Little Precious comes home and tells you, “Johnny told me his Mom is 27, and his Dad is 57!” there’s a very good chance Little Johnny is running home to tell his parents how old you are. So, for safety’s sake, if you don’t want the 21 other student’s in the class, and the 42 parents that go along with that (including any teachers or aids) how old you are, celebrate your favorite birthday as much as possible. Because I know how old all of you are. All of you.

The bad words you say. I’m not preaching, by any means. I love bad words. LOVE them (sorry, Mom). I know that it’s hard not to let one slip, because they’re fun to say, & manage to really get a message across. But, as we’ve learned from our plethora of Pool Rules, kids are sponges when it comes to bad words. And they love to say them at the worst possible moment.

I had a student tell me just last week, “My Dad won’t take me to Chuck E. Cheese’s anymore. He says it’s too crappy.” Well, one point for Dad for realizing that black hole of germs is not recipe for a fun afternoon. But, Dad, really? I know that other than your six year old GEM of a kid, you’ve also got a three year old daughter who I’m sure heard you. Not cool, dude. Crappy, I’ll admit, is not a true curse word. But coming out of the mouth of a five year old kind of is one.

[Side note on this Little Precious, this was the same kid who, when we were learning about Needs and Wants, told me that beer was a “need.” Completely justifying it by telling the class, “Well, that’s what my Dad tells my Mom!” Win.]

Twice in one week I had a student drop the s-bomb. Both times were in perfect context, too (which only impresses me, let’s be honest). The first time he was with another teacher, and when a classmate told him they were missing centers, without blinking an eye he quipped “Well, schmidt.” Kind of hilarious, and a super fun phone call home. The second time was in front of me, as well as the rest of the class. When he picked up his backpack three others fell from the bench, “SCHMIDT!” Again, impressive. The conversation with the entire class afterwards about what bad words are and why we don’t say them? Not so impressive.
I had a Little Precious, while she was washing her hands for snack, look up at me and smile. “My Mommy says bad words,” she told me.

“Really?” I asked.

“Oh yeah. In the car. A lot.”

Ignoring my own instincts to ask her what words Mommy says, I said to her, “They might be grown up words. You don’t say those words, do you?”

She smiled. “Not in front of Mommy!”

Touche.

Kids saying the darndest things is pretty funny, but how mad were you when Little Precious spent the night at Little Terror’s house & came home calling you douche, or came home from Kindergarten & (properly) called the cat a Little Schmidt because he schmidt on the floor? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

So the next time you’re driving & tell the douche who cut you off that he’s a mother fracker, remember… even though you’re totally justified & in the right, you’ve just taught 21 other kids that word.

Stretchy Pants were designed by pedophiles. I was 12 when my sister was born (BEST. BIRTH. CONTROL. EVER!), so I know what a pain it is to dress a kid. I know that when they’re cranky dressing them is even yesser. But stretchy pants, I have learned, are a horrible, horrible wardrobe choice for your child. How do I know this? Because I have seen the buttcrack of every child who has worn one pair of stretchy pants to Kindergarten. It doesn’t matter how long their shirt is, how big their underwear is, or if their pants are the correct size or not. These pants love to droop and sag. And when they sit down, I get a little show. And so does the kid behind them, who for not fault of their own, stares at the crack in front of them like it was a solar eclipse (How can you not look?!) I know these are a great wardrobe choice for kids, but as they have no self awareness, the flashing gets a little out of control sometimes.

Private parts are hillarious. Don’t I know it, I mean…wait. That was inappropriate. Then again, so are your kids. Not only are they fun to touch in the middle of circle time, they’re also fun to LOOK at. Especially when they’re not ours. Last week on the playground we had some fun show-and-tell time. And, according to both the Little Preciouses, this wasn’t the first time they’d done it.

I must say, without trying to really give away specifics, the best part is when the little girl tried to deny seeing the boy’s “privates,” so the teacher asked him again, “Dude, did you show her your privates?” he responded with a very angry, “YES! I did! She is LYING Mrs. Teacher! I SHOWED HER MY PRIVATES!”

Righty-o, little guy. We got it. You’ve got goods & like showing them off. WELL CUT IT OUT!

The bathroom habits of your entire house (I’m assuming...) Kids pick their nose. They stick their hands down their pants (All. The. Time). They wiggle their tooth. They play with loose strands on the carpet. The poke ants in the dirt. They pick up napkins/trash/popsicle sticks they find on the playground (“Look, Ms. Teacher! LITTER!”) They wipe their butts. And, for many of them, they walk past the sink like it didn’t even exist. For all but one of these, to an extent, I’m forgiving. But a kid not washing their hands after they go to the bathroom? THAT IS NOT OKAY! EW!

Not only do kids do all of the things above, but they also hold hands, share pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, colored pencils, markers, books, the computer’s keyboard and mouse, toys, flashcards, blocks, games, puzzles… get my drift here? Because I could go on for hours…

When your kid doesn’t wash their hands, EVERY SINGLE GERM they have touched since they washed their hands last is now the germ of 21 other students. And sometimes the teacher. Remember Little Terror? Remember when you had him over after school and he kept wiping his nose with his hand & wiped the snot all over his shirt, and it grossed you out to no end? Yeah. He’s not washing his hands after the bathroom either. And he’s sharing every material in the class with Little Precious. And now he’s brought them to your home. Think of it that way.

Now, I should clarify – I harp on kids who don’t do this automatically after the bathroom. I also embarrass them when they pick their nose, chastise them for wiggling their teeth all the time, & snap at them for having their hands down their pants (ALL. THE. TIME). The point is, I have about a million other things I need to remind them & get through to them. Help me out here, Moms, make sure your kid can wash their hands. And that they actually DO it. Because when they don’t wash theirs, I’m almost positive you’re not washing yours.

A friend of mine had an incident with a student wiping poop on the walls, & when a phone call home was made, Mom’s response was, “Well sometimes he does that when he gets poop on his hands from wiping.” Really, Mom? AS THOUGH THIS IS OKAY?

I know, I don’t have kids. But I’m sure that the first time your kid wipes poo on the walls is going to be the last time….

Moral of the story is that if your kids are gorillas in the bathroom, I’m assuming you are, too.

Your feeding habits are ridiculous. A friend of mine had a parent tell her that, since their son only eats French fries (which our cafeteria does not serve), chicken nuggets & apple juice, would she please make arrangements so he can eat this everyday?

I have to believe, for my own sanity’s sake, that I don’t need to point out why this is so absurd. Because you’re parents, & you understand how feeding time at school happens.  Yet, I feel compelled to let you know that it was a Dad who requested these things. Just sayin’.

Oh, also had a Mom who sent in only Pop-Tarts, Teddy Grahams (which are fan-FREAKING-tastic, don’t get me wrong), Ritz Crackers & Capri Suns for lunch for an entire week. And seemed annoyed when we called her, asking if this was in fact her daughter’s snack, or her actual lunch. Um, really? You’re right, we’re the crazy ones.

We are not a restaurant. We have no control over what is served, and more importantly, what isn’t. We work with what we’ve got. So, in some instances, please give us a break.

You yell a lot. Okay, I know this isn’t true. I also know that you reach your breaking points sometimes, get a little Pissy, and lose your Schmidt. I’m surprised you don’t do it more, frankly. I would too, if it weren’t for the fact that I might get fired for it. But every single time you yell, whether it be at the cat, your husband, the car in front of you, your first child/second child/forgotten child, I know all the gory details. It’s fun. Especially during Tell & Show or circle time, to get the full reenactment.

You’re human. You run late. You oversleep. You forget library books the day they’re due. You forget to send in lunch money. You pack a lunch that they hate. You forget snack. You have cereal for dinner. You stick your kids in front of the TV all afternoon some days. You let them stay up late when the pool opens. You forget sunscreen. You let your kids out of the door with dirty clothes on. You forget to remind them to brush their teeth/wipe their face. You cry some mornings. You slack on teaching your kids how to tie their shoe. You forget to sign their Friday Folder. You forgot to send in the permission slip. You treat them to McDonald’s some mornings. You let them ice cream for breakfast. You stay up late watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” You yell at your husband. You run out of gas. You stub your toe and say a bad word.

Of course you do.

You know what I do? Forget to feed my dogs. Forget to send home report cards. Forget my laptop at home. Don’t have the energy to teach the math lesson I planned, so let’s play puzzles instead. Check TMZ at school. Forget to answer parent emails, only to remember at midnight. Forget to call you back. Sometimes show movies to help get the point across. Let them stay outside longer at Recess than we’re scheduled to. Show up late to Library/Music/Art/PE/Computer lab. Let them get squirrely in the halls, even though they’re really not supposed to. Let them get too loud.

Because they’re kids.

And, sometimes, they’re awesome.

Why not let them have as much fun as possible? This is Kindergarten, after all!

Xoxo, The Bride

Oh. Soft Kitty. 




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