11.16.2013

Confessions of a Preschool Teacher

Note: The thoughts expressed in this post do not represent the facility in which I work, nor do they represent the feelings of those I work with, or other preschool teachers for that matter. They're simply my opinions. 

I've been a preschool teacher for a little over a year now. I've worked with 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and "school ager" children for roughly a semester each. I love to say that I'm a pro at it, because I've been doing it for a while and have some tricks up my sleeve. However, every week, there's at least one situation that throws me for a loop. And every day I'm there, there's one situation in which I act less than I know I should, by losing my temper or something. I hate it when I do that, but I want justify it and say that you would do the same thing if you were in my shoes, meaning, working with 12 screaming two year olds at once.

So here are my confessions. These are mostly directed at parents of kids. Tips on how to make your kids easier to work with in group care. And maybe if you've got a child in preschool, you'll be a bit more sympathetic to your teacher.

Confession 1
When we call you and say your kid is sick and needs to go home, we mean it. We understand that you work a lot. We work a lot too, we get it. But if your kid is throwing up, he can't stay at preschool. For one, germs. For another, it's quite a mess to clean up and takes time. For the last, they're not gonna get any better in a place full of germs. Oh one more thing, there are laws the state makes us follow. So while I just LOVE having my face coughed in repeatedly, sometimes it gets to the point that it's unsafe, and the state doesn't like that. So blame the state.

I promise, we're not calling and making up some story just to get your kid out of our hair.

Confession 2
Gogurt makes a HUGE mess. It gets all over your child's clothes. Stop sending that.

Confession 3
Here's my big soap box. I'm not a mom, so I don't really understand, maybe. But we have kids who come in, having everything done for them their whole life. That's fine. I understand you love your child and want to help them. I love your children too! And when they cry, I want them to be happy, and sometimes that means doing whatever you can to make them smile. But you have to draw the line at some point. Stop raising a child. Start raising an individual capable of individual action and though. I'm not joking, I've had 6 year olds who couldn't dress themselves or wipe their own bums, because mom had done it for them their whole life. I don't want to judge, because those children can be incredibly smart, but they're not being prepared for the real world. They're being prepared for life with mom. Moms, you don't need to cut the apron strings the second they leave your womb, but give the child some room to do things themselves, learn for themselves, and even make mistakes. It'll be healthy. My mom did that for me, and I feel like I grew up normal.

Confession 4
Sometimes, we spend more time with your kids than you do. So we know them. We know them very well. If we tell you your child needs to make a change, we probably know what we're talking about. Example: If we say your child should be put back into pull ups? We know what we're talking about. It's because your kid poops their pants still, all the time. Example: If we say your child is hitting?

This is a special thing. If I see a kid hitting, biting, scratching, acting out... the first thing I do is make sure they're ok. I make sure they're not being provoked, they're not being bullied. But occasionally, a kid just starts acting out. They scratch, they bite... And those things aren't good, especially when they're doing them to other kids who have their own parents that have their own worries. If we say your kid is acting out this way, and ask to see if there's a reason why, we're not hating on your kid. We're not excluding them and making them a victim. So your thoughtful response is much appreciated.

I have lots more confessions... maybe I'll share them some other time.

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