Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Preschool - No Place For Wimps

In the name of all that is good and holy...... I have a newfound respect and admiration for preschool teachers, especially those honored to have my son in their class. That must be the longest 2.5 hours of their day. Don't get me wrong. He loves preschool. He runs out the door when it is time to saddle up and buckle up. But, a whole classroom of 4-5 year olds at once? First, they scatter like cockroaches. It's like trying to herd cats. They arrive like they are storming the beaches of Normandy. They descend on the smiling teachers en masse. They are bursting with all sorts of random news to share - anything from pooping on the potty to fighting with older sister. We know there are no secrets from the teachers. I can tell by their sympathetic smiles (smirks) when I am brave enough to enter the classroom. I have no idea how they corral those kids into submission but they do. The kids take off and hang up their coats. They pot their backpacks on the assigned hooks and pull out their folders. I am happy of my kid takes off his shoes and does NOT throw them at his sister. Then they congregate on the "circle". Putting international diplomacy to shame, the teacher referees between Cole and Christian about who gets to sit on the "C". They play games, sing songs, play outside, have snack, do crafts and actual work. Somehow my kid has learned how to spell his name, learn his phone number and do simple math. I am happy I got him to start flushing the potty. Maybe I need to "aim" higher. The kids take turns having "jobs". These are powerful positions that come with great responsibility - calendar, snack helper, line leader, and caboose. These kids become drunk with power and wield their lofty titles with the smugness of Napoleon. Visiting the classroom is not for the feint of heart. When you enter, you are besieged by small people grabbing at you and climbing on you. They will not all be related to you. They will treat you like a visiting royal dignitary. You are offered a chair, a coveted spot on the circle, a snack, etc. They try to bribe you with books and puzzles. You are the blood in the water and they are hungry sharks. The teachers need the diplomacy skills and patience of the Pope and Mother Theresa. These kids have no boundaries. They share anything and everything. They tell you the most intimate details of their home life. I sit there paralyzed with fear because my son loves to over-share our dirty laundry. His friends know more about me than my own husband, probably. Their teachers have to referee every argument, sooth hurt feelings, heal real and imaginary boo-boos. They do it with joy and an amazing amount of patience and grace. After a visit, I come home and thank God Almighty that I survived. They take a brief lunch break and do it all again with a new batch of eager beavers.

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