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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.)

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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About To Have A Kindergarten Strop

, , , | Working | February 20, 2019

(My twins have been in kindergarten for three months, and we are very happy with the place. The carers are great and our twins’ “trust-person” is such a joyful lady; we like her and so do the kids. There is just one older, slightly grumpy carer, who always takes some little thing to berate us about, mostly suggesting we keep the kids at home whenever something is slightly out of order. My husband works full-time, and I do three days a week. The other two days, the kids usually still go, but mostly because they have more fun there than with me at home, doing laundry and such. One day, the daycare is scheduled to close an hour earlier. As I am working, my parents-in-law are picking up the kids as usual and they have been informed about the earlier pick-up multiple times. Four minutes past the time the kids should have been picked up, I get a call at work.)

Old Lady Carer: “Mrs. [My Name], you know that the kids need to be picked up an hour earlier today.”

(Of course, I fear the grandparents forgot, excuse myself a million times, and end the call to start the emergency phone marathon.)

Old Lady Carer: “You do that. [Twins] are sitting here and are waiting.”

(I feel so bad about this. My head is full of pictures of them sitting in the empty kindergarten hallway, with their little backpacks on their knees, lonely and forgotten. Possibly crying. I call the grandparents’ mobile but no one answers. Then, I call their landline — no answer. I call my husband and tell him his parents are not there and he tries to reach them again. Meanwhile, I call my mum, who lives near the kindergarten, but only has a bike and no car. She agrees that she could be there in about thirty minutes. I tell her to get ready and I will call my husband again to see if he has reached his parents. He has not and is reasonably worried. His parents are seventy and you never know. As we both work in different places than our hometown, my mum would be the fastest to reach the kids. I call her and she tells me she will get going right away! I try to call back the kindergarten. It is now twenty past. Nobody answers. I try twice more before reading texts from my husband telling me that his parents’ mobile phone is still not being answered. I try the daycare again, and finally, someone picks up.)

Different Care Person: “[Kindergarten], [Care Person] speaking.”

Me: “I tried to reach the grandparents, but they aren’t answering the phone. I could be there in an hour, but as we don’t want the twins to wait any longer than necessary, my mother is on her way on her bike and will be there in about twenty minutes, I guess. We are quite worried that the grandparents are not answering any calls and we hope it’s nothing serious…“

Different Care Person: “Wait, wait, wait. What’s up? What are you talking about? I don’t know what you mean.”

Me: “Aren’t you already closed? And [Twins] have not been picked up?”

Different Care Person: “[Twins]? No, they have been picked up already. The grandparents arrived extra early, and we just forgot the time chatting until now, I guess. And the twins have been playing so happily all this time.”

Me: “But [Older Care Lady] called me to tell me they were sitting there alone and waiting.“

Different Care Person: “She probably did not see us chatting outside; that’s the only explanation I can think of. Everything is absolutely fine; don’t worry!”

Me: “Well, I’m glad about that. But that was really unnecessary.“

(She apologised again, but I told her it was fine as long as the kids were fine. I then called my mum, who was pedaling as fast as a sixty-year-old lady can, to make her turn around. She was relieved, too, but peeved, as expected. My husband texted me, meanwhile, that he’d reached his parents’ mobile in the end; they just had left it in the car while chatting in the daycare’s playground while the kids were still running around happily. All is well that ends well, but maaan, that was an annoying hour.)

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.)