There Was A Reason Mama Left Her With You

, , , | Learning | October 19, 2018

(I work at a kindergarten. It is the first day of class, and some kids tend to cry because they don’t want their parents to leave. One tiny four-year-old girl is in my arms, crying softly. But when we get to the classroom, she suddenly launches backwards headfirst. I barely hold on to her before she hits her head. She starts screaming like a banshee, and kicks me repeatedly, so I lay her as carefully as possible on a rug. She keeps screaming, dropping on the floor, hitting her head, leaving hundreds of scratches on her own chest, and banging her head some more against a door. I try to get her to sit on a chair, but she jumps down so hard it flips and almost impales her. If I try to talk to her, she gets even more angry. We call her family, but no one picks up. And by the end of the — short, thank God — day, she is covered of scratches and bumps, but calm and laughing. I am extremely scared that I will get in trouble, though. I explain everything to the girl’s mom when she arrives.)

Mom: *laughs and smiles* “I have five kids, and they have all been like that on the first few days of school. Don’t worry.”

(This happened for one whole month until the girl and I bonded, but my coworkers and I still remember her as Demon Spawn.)

Speech Therapy: There’s An App For That

, , , , | Related | October 17, 2018

(I teach in a low-income area, where lots of people live around a small school designed to care for the children of working families. We make sure the kids have all their needs met and recommend extra help if we think the kids need it. We have a very important rule, though: nothing is free. We charge very little for everything, but the idea was to avoid people thinking of it as charity.)

Me: “[Student’s Mother], we have assessed that [Nephew that lives with her] and [Son] will both need urgent speech therapy. Now, we went ahead and got a fantastic therapist who is willing to come here and do it for 2000 colones each kid per week.”

(That equals about four dollars.)

Mother: “Oh, no! Can’t she do it for free? Remember, [Nephew] was born with hydrocephalus; he is special needs.”

Me: “Yes, this is exactly why we got this fantastic therapist. But this community is too far away; we need to, at least, pay for her gas money.”

Mother: “This makes me so sad… I guess we won’t be able to get them the help they need.”

(Then, she proceeded to place her newest iPhone on the table as she picked up and left. At the end, the kids did get the help they needed, but I had to actually sit with her and go through her finances so she could see where she could cut back in order to pay for therapy.)

What’s Cooler Is A Castle Filled With Transformers

, , , , , | Learning | October 16, 2018

(I am a teacher, taking kindergarteners on a trip to the pumpkin patch. On the way there, we pass a castle that is well known in the area. The bus full of kindergarteners is very excited to see it. A student turns to me:)

Kindergartener: “Why is there a castle here?!”

Me: “Well, someone just decided they wanted to build a castle.”

(The student turns to look out the window and see the castle again, then turns back to me. I’m expecting another question about the castle.)

Kindergartener: “I wish I was a transformer!”

(Well, that’s pretty cool, too.)

This Girl Has A Mouth On Her

, , , | Learning | October 15, 2018

(I work in a kindergarten. I try to switch on the light; it flickers and dies.)

Me: *to my class of four-year-olds* “Oops! Oh, no, kids! The light is sick!”

Girl: “Silly teacher, the light can not be sick.”

Me: *laughs* “Yes, you are correct.”

Girl: “Of course, because it doesn’t have a mouth.”

Some Rules Should Be Grandfathered In

, , , , , , | Learning | July 22, 2018

I grew up in a somewhat small city. When I was in kindergarten, my school had something called a Grandparents’ Lunch, for which students would bring in money, and on the specified day, students’ grandparents would come in to have an hour-long lunch with them, catered by a local restaurant. It became a big deal in my class, and I soon realized that I would be the only one unable to participate, as my only living grandmother lived in another state and was dealing with some severe health problems. The alternative would be that I would be sitting in the classroom during the program — alone, except for the teacher — to work on busy work. I was very upset when I went home, and ended up crying to my parents about the situation.  

The next day, when my dad took me to school, he ran into the principal. He explained the situation, and asked if it’d be okay if he came to the program so that I wouldn’t be excluded. The principal quite rudely told him, “No, it’s for grandparents only. Parents aren’t allowed.”As I was only five or six, I don’t remember exactly what all was said during the entire interaction, but I recall my dad getting upset and arguing with the principal.

On the day of the program, just before lunch, my dad checked me out of school and took me to one of our favorite restaurants. After we ate — and after the program was over — he took me back to school, and told me that if anyone asked, I had a doctor appointment.

Almost a decade and a half later, my dad still gets ticked off when he’s reminded of the situation. Although our relationship tends to be strained nowadays, I always remember it as a good time with my dad and am thankful for what he did.

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