Reading Badly Into This Situation

, , , , | Learning | October 21, 2019

(I am calling the county department of education to find some sort of toddler pre-K enrichment for my three-year-old son.)

Me: “I need to find something for him. He’s been reading since he was two-and-a-half.”

Them: “Stop teaching him; you are creating a problem for us!”

Too Chicken(Pox) To Accept The Consequences

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 21, 2019

Though my kindergarten was part of an entire elementary school, the kindergarten was held in a separate building across the street from the main school with its own parking lot. This was originally done to ensure the children could see and point out whoever was picking them up without the clutter of other grades — also why the first graders had their own hall with its own exit in the main building. It also forced the school to teach us road safety at a young age since we’d have to go to the main school building to have library, PE, music, art, computers, and lunch. However, it wound up proving to have one more bonus after this incident.

Our last activity before recess was acting out Three Billy Goats Gruff, complete with masks for all four characters. After I, the third goat for this group, rammed the final troll, someone noticed my goat mask didn’t look the same and asked the teacher about it. She started by examining the mask, and then the kid playing the troll and me. Our troll was wearing makeup. Everywhere. While asking him why, the teacher started rubbing it away before stepping back, horrified.

The troll had chickenpox.

While I don’t remember this for sure, I believe that at the time vaccination was only required for entry into middle school, so not only was it quite likely that none of the students in the kindergarten were vaccinated against chickenpox, but it was just as likely many of the students in the main school weren’t, either. And this child’s mother decided it would be better to send him to school. How do I know it was his mother? Well…

The very first thing my teacher did was get the neighboring teacher to watch us, and then drag our troll right out of the classroom. When I took a restroom break later, I passed by the kindergarten’s office and heard a woman yelling about how this was no big deal, that she shouldn’t have had to come down for this, and more. The troll student didn’t come back that day, or any other day.

Once she got back, we were locked in the building the rest of the day. The teachers had to go get our lunches, and we lost our main building class for the day. Throughout the day, others were getting picked up unexpectedly. Evidently, the school called all of our parents to let them know a mother sent her child in with chickenpox, and many decided to get their kids out immediately.

The school was closed for the next two weeks, which means we lost two weeks of our summer vacation and our parents had to find sitters. Once the incubation period ended and symptoms would be appearing in anyone infected, the school reopened, but attendance was incredibly low; on the very first day back, I was the only one who came to class. Part of it was that some parents didn’t feel safe leaving their kids with the school any longer and transferred them out, but most of it was because the school had an outbreak which left most of the children sick, and the parents of the remaining healthy children were concerned another parent would do the same thing. After some assurances, the healthy students finally came back. I had bragging rights, however.

Since I was the only one who came in on the first day, the teachers called my parents again. With their permission, my teacher took me bowling for the day — out of her own pocket if my mother is to be believed — and even drove me home while everyone else stayed to close the kindergarten early. It was my first and only improvised field trip, and I absolutely loved it.

In the course of my education, I encountered almost my entire kindergarten class again. While a couple of them have scars, everyone I’ve found was just fine. The only mystery left in this case is the student who caused it. I’ve yet to encounter him again.

To the troll’s mother, while I hate that you delayed my summer vacation and cost me time with my friends, thank you for enabling a wonderful day of bowling with my teacher. I hope your stupidity hasn’t killed your son or anyone else.

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The Bigger Child

, , , , , | Learning | May 16, 2019

(I am a kindergarten teacher at a private school. The children are waiting for their parents to pick them up. It has been quite a difficult day.)

Mother: *furious* “EXCUSE ME! Why is my son telling me you did not give him some birthday cake?”

Me: “Actually—”

Mother: “I demand you give him some cake now, or I am calling the police for abuse!”

Me: “Actually, Mrs. [Mother], your son did get a piece of cake; however, he decided to throw it at one of the girls. Then, when [Son’s Friend] didn’t give him his piece, he kicked him in the crotch. We do not reward bullying or violence, Mrs. [Mother], and your son was appropriately reprimanded. A letter will be sent to you with more details.”

Mother: *blushing* “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ME SON OF BULLYING?! I DEMAND CAKE NOW OR I WILL HAVE YOUR A**E FIRED!”

Me: “You will not use that language in this building. I am going to have to ask you to leave. You and your son are no longer welcome here.”

(She continued screaming for another couple of minutes until another teacher came out with the aforementioned cake inside a glass cover. She stormed up to it and tried to wrestle it off the teacher. The cover was broken and both the mother and the teacher were injured. The mother then stormed out, smashing a window in the process. We were all a bit rattled by it, but tried to calm everything down when two police officers arrived. They said they’d had reports of a woman — me — wielding a knife, demanding that I “convert the children to the burka” — a literal quote. We showed them the security footage of the area and had to go down to the police station to give statements — the mother included, who was still outside being seen by a paramedic. The other teacher refused to press charges and we were all free to go. A week later, the mother showed up again to drop off her son. I refused, saying they were no longer welcome. She had another tantrum and broke the same window we had just replaced the day before. She then left, screaming that she would take her money elsewhere. At this school, parents do not have to pay for kindergarten if they are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, which she was. Her sister left her son with us occasionally, and I’ve heard that that mother has built such a reputation that she has to take her son out of the county and is going to be homeschooling. I’m considering allowing the child to attend with us again, even if just for a bit of stability, but I’m fearful of what he might do. It was a first-time incident, but it was pretty serious.)

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That Age-Old Problem

, , , , , , | Learning | May 11, 2019

(I’m talking to a six-year-old student. I’ve told her my age a dozen times but she never remembers it.)

Student: “Ms. [My Name], how old are you?”

Me: “How old do you think I am?”

(She sits quietly for over a full minute.)

Student: “You’re six!”

Me: “Uh… no, I’m not six. You’re six; do you think we’re the same age?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Okay, how old do you think I am?”

Student: *after thinking again* “You’re six.”

Me: “No. I’m a little older than that; do you want to guess again?”

Student: “You’re ninety-eight.”

Me: “No! Not that much older. I’m only nineteen.”

Student: “Oh, that’s like really old. Even older than ninety-eight!”

(Thanks, [Student]… It wasn’t until working with kindergarten that I was ever called old, but these kids manage to make me feel ancient every time I visit their class.)

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V For “Vow To Never Ask You Again”

, , , , , | Learning | April 28, 2019

(My parents are age-appropriate but frank about sex education when I am growing up, and as such, I grow up using the proper names for parts of the reproductive system. Every Monday in kindergarten we focus on a different letter of the alphabet, practice their sounds, and name words that start with the letter in question. The teacher writes the words down to help with basic reading. Naturally, one week we get to the letter V.)

Teacher: “Who can think of a word that begins with V?”

(I raise my hand and she calls on me.)

Five-Year-Old Me: “Vagina!”

Teacher: *after just a second of hesitation, and with hardly a reaction* “Very good, yes. Anyone else?”

(I was a little disappointed when she didn’t write down my word but moved on from it quickly. Kudos to my teacher for handling it as she did. I was told years later, though, that she called my mother later that afternoon and they both had a huge laugh over it.)

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