>You’re So Unwelcome, Thank You Very Much
>Okay, so I think I will allow myself one day a week to just rant about something. Here it is: I just looooove it when someone thinks they’re superior. High and mighty. That I’m a peon, something that they need to scrape off their shoe. Not long ago I saw someone I had not seen in a while. They asked how I was (fine) where I’ve been (same place I’ve been for 23 years) what I’ve been doing (working, going to school) what kind of job I had (preschool teacher)….then there it was. A wrinkled nose, as if she suddenly smelled something bad, and the condescending comment, “Well, I guess that’s ok, if you like it.” What?!! Okay, first, I don’t need your permission OR your approval. Secondly, don’t try to come off like you’re so much better, I know your kids, their habits (legal and illegal), their histories, and where lots of their smelly old skeletons are buried. Thirdly, I’m a whole new ballgame. I’m not the mousy, quiet, shy (ok, I’m still shy but not if you piss me off) fearful little thing I used to be. No sirree. I spent too many years bottling up my anger, hurt, confusion, all of the above, till it killed me (story for another time). I don’t bottle that crap up anymore. You ever heard of Krakatoa? That’s me. I used to care way too much about being polite and doing whatever it took to protect someone’s feelings. I’m over that. I’ve spent 45 years taking people’s crap. I found that slinging it right back to them makes for a happier, healthier me. (Their own crap, not mine, literally and figuratively). I’m not old, but I sure can look back a long way and I have a damn fine memory, too. So bring it, lady (term used loosely). People are only happy to see you if you tow their particular line. I gave up towing. Hell, I don’t even have lines of my own. If you’re my friend, I expect you to be you and you don’t have to cater to me at all. Honesty. That’s what I require.
Fourthly, do you have any idea whatsoever what daycare/preschool is about? We’re not babysitters, friend. (term used figuratively and somewhat sarcastically). Ever since the No Child Left Behind program started, schools have been: teaching to the EOG’s (figure it out for yourself since you know so much), labeling every kid with energy and imagination and a brain as ADHD/ODD/Bi-Polar, etc. Nephew went to 3 doctors because his Kindergarten teacher (who has no legal right to do so) told Mom that he was ADD. Doctor, all three times concluded he was smart and simply bored. Teachers are under pressure to present a percentage of high EOG scores to get funding. Any child that doesn’t fit into their cookie cutter system gets labeled and, ultimately, left behind (ironic, huh?). The day of the patient, caring teacher who would make extra efforts to make sure a child/family were in the loop and felt a connection are long gone. Agendas are sent home with Kindergarteners. Please! Our job as preschool teachers encompass so many things that you’d be amazed, and hopefully, a little humbled.
For example: I personally helped a family recognize their child had a vision problem (got serious glasses). That child, in public school, would have failed Kindergarten and been behind a year before a teacher would have taken the time to figure out why Johnny was doing some of the weird and illogical things I caught him doing. I just had to watch and connect for a while. #2: A parent expressed a concern about a new habit Son had. Everyone, including co-teacher, passed it off as an attention thing. I watched, listened, and mentioned my thoughts to Dad. Later in the week, he was in Big City doctor’s office, having 3 kinds of tests run, 1 of which included brain tumors. Thankfully, it was really bad, strange infection in that general area, taken care of with meds. Part of our job is to help parents when atypical behaviors show up. #3: A parent in my room called. I took the call. She found she had an aggressive form of a wicked illness. Life threatening. The whole Center surrounded this family. Took her kids home, made donations, we even made a comfort basket with goodies for Mom, Dad, Kids…put them on every prayer list we could find. We admired her wigs, held her when she was whipped and empty, celebrated the small victories. Her letter to us later made us all cry. She was actually thankful to have undergone her ordeal because it helped her to value and cherish her family, the time she was given, and to see just how special we at the Center were. See, they moved here, knowing NO ONE. Family were many states away and Dad worked hundreds of miles away. We became Family. (She’s now 100%). #4: Quite often we are the only source of stability/safety, normalcy many kids have. Nutritious foods, safe sleep times, warmth, protection-these things don’t exist in every household. I know from experience. #5: People say kids in preschool get sick. Yep they do. But if they don’t get their little immune systems built up before school, then they’re in trouble. It’s ok to miss days in preschool. In “big” school, absences count against you. #6: In preschool, families have access to helps that take forever to get into later. Too, as one public school English teacher said to me about her child, early intervention is KEY. Hearing issues/learning disabilities, vision/sensory…all these things are better off if caught early. #7: Mom and Dad split, remarry, move, lose a job, whatever. Kids are confused, angry and afraid. They react, usually resulting in tantrums, violence, etc. We help parents find what they need to help their child learn to cope with changes. A world of difference. #8: We help children develop social/negotiating/self help skills. #9: We are the last stop before 12 years of make or break pressure in a cold, cruel world. #10: We help children prepare-without preschool (ok, I know there are parents out there who will honestly read to their child, teach them, let them explore and experience, but not too many) will your child pass the Kindergarten entrance exam? Did you know that there is one? Bet not. Parents of children who have been in “big” school for years, come back to the Center, crying. CRYING. They miss us. We cared about their children, treated them (parents and children) with respect.
We live in a mobile society. People don’t have the back ups they used to have when I was a child. Granny or Auntie can’t watch kids. They live in another state/city. You can’t ask your neighbor to help, they’re probably a pedophile. Parents both work (assuming there’s 2 parents…) and have little time/energy to teach kids how to write, hold a pencil, use scissors, settle an argument. It’s not for nothing that the people who visit our Center, parents who are doctors, lawyers, pharmaceutical reps, businessmen/women, etc., tell us all the time “wow. I admire you guys. I could never do this. Thank you for all you do for my/our child/children. Many of these are teachers themselves. Oh, I could go on forever. Just know this: to the general public, I and my kind are glorified babysitters and we have the pay to prove it. But to the people who matter, we are Godsends. So you can take your condescending attitude and shove it. My life is whole and complete without your approval.