Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some People Tell Me I should Write a Book...

When people hear me talk about life in preschool they tell me things like, "You should write a book!" or that I should do stand up comedy (yeah... like I need another job that won't pay me shit) When I began writng this blog I promised funny stories about preschool hijinx... and I haven't delivered. Here's a little bit about why:

When I was in fifth grade I was mad at my teacher and his class pet for some slight I only half remember. So because it was the beginning of the "Mean Girl" stage of development, I wrote something nasty about them on a piece of notebook paper and planned on passing it all around the classroom. I'm cringing as I tell you that I believe the word "humps" made an appearance in my mini smear campaign propaganda. For whatever reason, I never did circulate the note... but my mom found it in my pants pocket the next day. She told me never, under any circumstances should I write down something that I didn't want to be found out. I would love to tell you that I'm a fast learner and that I never again screwed myself with undeniable facts written in my own hand... but the 25+ times in high school that she looked through my backpack or my room and found notes to/from friends about parties and things I wasn't supposed to do with boyfriends I wasn't supposed to have, are testimony to the thickness of my skull. I am proud to say, however that TODAY, well... today, I get it!

I've been following some of the news stories about Natalie Munroe, a Pennsylvania English teacher who vented about students on her personal blog. If you haven't heard about this, here's a brief back story.
It obviously hits home for me as my blog deals mostly with my personal life, but touches from time to time on my perspective of life as a preschool teacher. There have been many times that I could have used this as a sounding board for gripes I have about work stuff, but have held back for several reasons - 1. my supervisor reads this blog,    2. confidentiality is important to me, as is my sense of professionalism,  and 3. I've come to realize that my friend, Jen is the only person who can really handle the uncensored answer to "How was your day?" She loves it when I use the word "retard" and well... some other folks tend to cringe.

What's happening for the Pennsylvania high school teacher is unfortunate but, let's face it - fair or not fair, in this life you risk consequence with every action you take. I have no wish to debate right or wrong about this teacher's posts. She didn't use names and she spoke some truths that I share. What interests me more is the idea that if she were a doctor or a mechanic or a librarian or a bus driver she could comment on the absurdity and stupidity of nameless people she encounters in her work day without public uproar. So, America? What puts our children above reproach in our mind's eye? Why are we horrified by a teacher's rantings about lazy, entitled and it has to be confirmed - stupid kids?? Your kids have friends for Christ sake - you've encountered some of these people too. Spend some time on your school's playground after school someday and keep your eyes and ears open. What never fails to cross my mind when I'm out there is "So many 'treasures,' so few holes to bury them in." There is some atrocious behavior happening amidst the under 18 set...

Before you say it - What if it were MY child she had in mind when writing those comments? I've thought about this and tried to put myself on that side of the arguement, and you know what I came up with?
So what??? Here's the thing: I know what my child's potential is. I know his insides and his outside and I know what he's going to do/say/think usually before he does. I know how I feel about who he is and I know what my hopes are for who he will become, because I am his MOM. I don't expect anyone else on the planet to see in him what I see. No one will ever feel the way I do about the Tornado because to date, no one else has as much invested in him and that's the way it's supposed to be. Teachers and coaches and friends and their parents will form their own opinions about my kids that will have NO IMPACT on how I feel or what I know about them. So serioulsy? In the grand scheme of things - who gives a shit if someone thinks my kid should check in with local waste management companies for employment? (to be honest my biggest gripe about the PA teacher's comments was the insinuation that driving a garbage truck was inferior work -  work is work, bitch! It's a recession...)

So while I envisioned being able to share stories here about my present day work with preschoolers, I will heed my mother's advice (please don't tell her!!) and NOT put into writing anything about specific instances with my present class. I stand by everyhting that I've written about teaching preschoolers so far in this blog. However, only my nearest and dearest will get the "Full Monty" of classroom life with the SassMaster. I realized while pondering all of this, that while I gripe and parody and poke fun in the name of blowing off steam about a highly stressful job, what readers wouldn't be privy to are the moments that temper the What the Fuck stories that my BFF gets to snort about. Because there are days when someone small says something like "You are my nicest hero..." to you and it allows you to let go of the kid who won't stop knocking down his friends' blocks (let go of him figuratively, of course because head locks, while effective are strictly forbidden.)


  1. BRILLIANT!!!!
    I think of you everytime I hear about the PA teacher!
    Kudos Mama!
    You're my nicest hero!
    "A Mother"

  2. LOVE it, as always.
    My mother taught me the same thing. I'm still trying to get over it and not listen. Because, let's face it, some things DO need to be said. I'm not a preschool teacher though.
    You are awesome!

  3. Haha… I can relate on so many levels. -- Funny side note first, my husband drives a garbage truck -- and him getting that job is what allowed us to try for our third child and for me to quit my job and stay home with our children (making more than we made with the both of us working full-time before he was laid off from the bank. So yeah, work it work.)

    This is gonna be kind of long, but I’ve just gotta tell this story, lol…
    My step-daughers always had a really, really close relationship with all of her teachers, but this year Mary just couldn’t get on the ‘good side’ of her 5th grade one. Mary came home everyday telling me about how she’s tried and tried to get this teacher to like her, but that it was useless. This teacher just had it out for her, she thought. Then one day her teacher sent her to work room during recess for forgetting some of her homework at home that day, and when Mary’s friends gathered around to tell her how so-totally-unfair the teacher was being, Mary got carried away and joked that she hated this teacher so much, she hoped her baby would die.

    Her friends all laughed… and then promptly ran to tell the teacher.

    It was an awful, disgusting thing for Mary to say -- and she knew it. She came home crying that day, before she found out that the teacher had heard, and confessed everything to me, saying that she wants to apologize but that she’s too afraid to tell the teacher what she said.

    When the teacher found out, she cried… not Mary - the teacher. She went to the principal and she literally, out loud, cried to him about it. Then she called my husband and I in a fit of tears and when she couldn’t get ahold of us immediately, she was so angry that she looked up Mary’s emergency card information and called my MOTHER IN LAW and left a message for her. Then she decided that Mary was disturbed and that she needed to have an emergency intervention from the guidance councilor - because I was pregnant at the time and she was sure that this was pent up hostility and resentment toward her new sister, and that Mary was expressing a desire to harm her unborn sibling. It was a mess.

    My husband’s and my families either rallied together in Mary’s defense or they laughed the whole thing off -- but my husband and I basically took the stance that -- 'well, kid, you effed up this time. And if you were worried about the teacher liking you… I don’t think you need to anymore.'

    ‘Cause you know what? Kids ARE messed up sometimes. Their mischievous by nature. And childhood is just as much about testing the boundaries of what you can get away with as it is testing the limits of your imagination and creativity. To act like it’s the 8th deadly sin for our teachers to gripe about our kids once in a while is just outrageous.

  4. Oh my gosh, that was really long, lol. Sorry. :-)

  5. ahahahaha "Work is work BITCH!" LOVE IT!!!! :))

  6. ha ha ha love it as usual...I know my kid is sure to be one of those "treasures" on the playground at times. ha ha...
    Please feel free not to hold back any snort worthy preschool stories with me lol...

    oh and you totally brought a tear to my eye with "You are my nicest hero"!

  7. Thank you as always for the kind words!
    Alicia - thanks for checking out the blog! (And I love reading comments regardless of their length)
    What a heart wrenching business it is to be a parent sometimes and the worst of those moments are when our kids do something that is "awful and disgusting" but they're human and brand new at it, to boot... Kudos to you and your husbnad for supporting her in an incredible life lesson - we eff up. we apoloigize and try to make ammends and we move on. The end. Hopefully 5th grade ends (or ended??) on a good note for Mary! Hope you keep reading!

  8. Very well written, and I love the tone. I think we may have the next Chelsea Handler here, well minus all the sex and midget love...Oh and maybe minus all the vodka too. Great Job! Glad Jamie sent me here!

  9. I believe that people who would get upset over the blog have blinders on. I know my child VERY well, I know how hard he can push my buttons, & I love him unconditionally. I can only imagine how he pushes the buttons of others that are not so enamored with him. I really do pity his teachers... Really people, open your eyes and look around!