I spent some time this week volunteering in Reese and Jackson’s classrooms. I can tell you this, kindergarten teachers are saints.
One morning I went with Reese’s class to a production of The Three Little Pigs. It involved loading both kindergarten classes (Jackson’s included) onto a school bus, walking them through downtown Anchorage to the performing arts center, then waiting half an hour for the show to start. Within that half hour four children had to go to the bathroom. The one unlucky Dad chaperone had to take three little boys (not his own) to the bathroom while the teacher took the little girl. Meanwhile, we had to keep the kids from poking, hitting, pinching, touching, or otherwise annoying each other and making each other cry. Once the play started it kept their interest for about 30 minutes. Toward the middle they started moving around, putting their feet on chairs, leaning forward, and asking to go to the bathroom again. One little girl, I swear spent the whole play strategically moving herself so that whatever way the children in front of her moved they were, “BLOCKING MY WAY!” She said it at least 79 times during the performance.
I almost had a meltdown. If I were alone with my children we would have left so I could get home and mainlinie vodka.
But the teacher, just sat calmly. She reprimanded them without once raising her voice. One of the little girls sat on her lap for half the performance. At the end of it she said, “I think they did pretty well, didn’t they?” I nodded yes, but in my head I thought, “were we in the same building? Ohmygosh these kids are nuts!”
The next day I spent the afternoon in Jackson’s classroom helping with Halloween activities. I knew this day would be more challenging because it’s Jackson. Every time I looked back it him during the previous days play he was picking his nose and eating the boogers. Also, it was Halloween. Holidays make kids lose their little tiny minds.
After two hours in that room I thought I had lost mine. My ears were ringing. My fingers were stuck together with Elmer’s school glue and I had blue frosting under my fingernails. In the two hours I was there Jackson’s teacher managed to get 23 kids to change from snow boots to tennis shoes, do a quiet down exercise, listen to a story, do a fun Halloween project, do another read-along-story, make a monster out of paper and glue, eat and drink a snack, clean up the whole room, calm down and line up for art class. All of that with 23 crying, coughing, punching, kicking, screaming, laughing 6-year-olds.
I couldn’t get Reese and Jackson to do that many activities all summer long.
I told Jackson’s teacher that I could never do her job. That I had a headache. She said it’s the best job ever because all the kids hug her and love her and tell her she’s awesome all the time. I get that, Reese and Jackson still think I’m awesome and beautiful and smart. They tell me the “wuv” me all the time. This is how people wind up with 17 kids.
They just want compliments.