|I love being so evolved!|
A few years ago, one of my children’s teachers sent a note home to thank me for being so involved. However, the kids must have really gotten to her that day (most likely my kid did) because the note read, “Thank you for being so evolved.” Now, I must admit that there are times at the dinner table when I sometimes question the level of my family’s evolvement. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to be publicly acknowledged for having operable thumbs and the ability to walk upright. Well, sometimes. Clearly, however, this teacher has never seen us at an all-you-can-eat buffet or she would definitely reconsider her sentiments and never commit them to writing.
I saved the note not only because it’s hilarious, but it’s a reminder of how grateful I am that I did not become an elementary, middle school, or high school teacher as I had once envisioned myself as I walked across campus to Freshman orientation at Rutgers. I have a third and fourth grader and through the years I have watched their teachers and I am in continual awe. I could never do what they do day after day after day. The truth is, my own two children rattle my brain in a way that makes me think that Alzheimer’s is less a neurological disease, and more a disorder brought on by my offspring’s incessant verbal proddings that slowly erode the pathways that send signals to my brain, turning my brain into farina at the very time when I’m free to reclaim my life because my kids are finally out of the house.
I get hives just imagining having to deal with twenty-two kids, all of whom have competing needs for attention. I can’t imagine how rattled a teacher’s brain gets dealing with the same personalities every single day and having to smile through it. They have to always be “on” whether they feel like it or not. And, (cue horror music) they have to deal with neurotic parents like me.
I’m always amazed at the harsh criticism tossed at great teachers. “They only teach five classes a day;” “Their bosses rarely bother them;” “They get winter and spring breaks, and they have summers off.” I think those people should have to teach for a week because they would find after one day that those five classes include no bathroom breaks, no personal phone calls, no games of Bejeweled, and no gossiping with their office mate. They’ll also find that those twenty-plus students are the bosses. Not only are they silently (and not so silently) critiquing your performance, they tell their parents every move you make and repeat every word you say. If you’re not careful you’ll be called before the Board of Education to answer for an incident that you don’t even recall happening. And let’s be real, most offices don’t have twenty people working in the same room elbow to elbow, swimming in the sneezing, coughing, runny noses, feverish cesspool of the classroom. Teaching may be a calling, but if someone is sneezing all over me for five consecutive classes, I’m calling their parents. The breaks and summers off are necessary for a teacher’s body to recover from “the assault of the classroom germs.”
True, I teach preschool to fund my writing, but that’s completely different, and no comparison to teaching older kids. Teaching two and three-year olds is almost like working in a nursing home. There’s no filter between brain and mouth; they’re always chasing the next meal; they love to talk about bowel movements; there are diapers and accidents, and they love to let you know exactly how they feel about you, “I don’t like you. You’re not coming to my birthday party.” And there are no pre-pubescent/pubescent/post-pubescent hormonal imbalances to deal with. Preschoolers are either over-the-moon happy or cranky because they’re missing their teeth or haven’t pooped for two days.
And they tell you everything, I mean everything, that they hear at home. My all-time favorite was a little three-year old girl who confided in me during snack, “My daddy has to go to Target and get more balls because Grandma told Grandpa that Mommy took his when they got married.”
What can I say? Working with the little people is fun. I love being evolved with them.