Tag Archives: preschool

But wait… (part one)

             Last week was quite a dramatic one, what with Zachary’s moods, the earthquakes, my first two articles accepted for print publication, and ballot measures that would have infused some measure of relief into the public schools going down in bright, smoky, orange flames.  Oh, and our preschool director sent out an email that one of the Pre-K teachers is retiring while two other teachers have been let go.

            The up side to such emails is that they provide excellent gossip material.  Drop-off and pick-up become terribly exciting as mothers gather in tight little circles or accost the assistant director in the corridor.  Shocked whispers abound, and everyone seems to be having a blast, with the obvious exception of the now-unemployed.

            People were dismayed about the Pre-K teacher, who has been working with her co-teacher for 20 years and is a very good teacher.  “The whole reason I signed [insert name of Lake Wobegon child here] up for Pre-K is so that he could have L and M as teachers,” I heard from several parents.  “Those two teachers are such a great team.  They have it down to a science.”  Which would be lovely, if only teaching were meant to be a science.  I prefer to think of it as an art, one that must change and grow each year as new children enter a classroom.  In fact, part of the reason we didn’t sign Zachary up for Pre-K, despite his borderline birthday, is that I feel that no classroom should remain without change for over two decades.

            Nothin’ like one of them retiring to shake things up.

            Of course, the two firings were what really provided the thrills in our otherwise dull lives.  Normally, I am well outside of the loop, to the extent that I’m not quite sure where the damned loop is.  But, last week, people were engaging anyone they could find in quiet murmuring combined with quick glances to either side.  Any warm body would do to discuss the fact that two subpar teachers had been let go.  People kept talking to me about it, expressing disgust that these women were cut loose in a lousy economy and why wasn’t the other teacher in the room fired and maybe she should have been given another chance and she had a really tough class this year and Emily you should talk to the director.

            Whoa.  Hold the phone.  When did I suddenly become the spokesperson for the outraged mamas?  I think we safely established that I am not a leader of men when I freaked out over chairing the graduation committee.  More to the point, who am I to tell this woman how to administrate her school?  Would I have fired both of these teachers?  Probably not, as one has shown some improvement over the year.  But, that’s why I am not running the damned school.  If I were in charge, no one ever would be fired, all the kids would get free tuition, and paper plates would not be permitted.  Nor would Goldfish, which have no nutritional value and which the kids consume like crack cocaine, but that’s really beside the point here.

            I do feel kind of guilty, however, because I suspect my kid got one of them canned.  Who do you think made that class so tough?  Now, far be it from me to point fingers, but there was one particular child who had a tendency to take bites out of his classmates whenever anyone got up in his grill (he never starts it, but he always finishes it).  One child who decided that a certain seat was his chair and no one else was allowed to sit there.  One child who refused to stop playing to go to the bathroom, refused to leave the bathroom to go to snack time, and refused to finish snack so he could play. 

            And yes, a better teacher would have kept him engaged, because we all know that Benjamin makes trouble in order to amuse himself and his adoring fans whenever things get a little dull in the classroom.  But it is sure hard not to worry that my two-year-old was so unruly that he got his teacher fired.  His very sweet teacher, who just wasn’t up to the task of managing a classroom with my child in it. 

            Wednesday, the day after the aforementioned email, the preschool director came up to me in the parking lot and asked if she could have a moment of my time.  Given that I had just strapped all three of my children into the car along with the boy we were carpooling (who waited until after all four children were loaded into the car to inform me that he had a poopy diaper, whereupon I informed him that we’d be home in ten minutes because there was no earthly way I was going to unstrap all four children and go back inside in search of a clean diaper), I told her I’d call her. 

           It’s not like I didn’t know what she wanted to talk to me about.

Please join us tomorrow for another exciting adventure of Pigs in Space…


            “You know who’s going to come to school next week?” Zachary asked in the bath last week.

            “No, who?” his father replied, only about two-sevenths paying attention because he was attempting to scrub tofu out of Benjamin’s hair.

            “The grandparents!” Zach announced.  Suddenly, he had J’s full attention, or, rather, I did.  My husband turned around and shot me a look about eight paragraphs long.

            “I told the teachers,” I muttered as I zipped up Lilah’s pajamas, then louder to my son: “Baby, it’s Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day.”  Despite my reminders that we would be providing a special friend in lieu of a grandparent, it seems that the teachers had been advertising only the first half of the title.

            J took over.  “Grandma and Grandpa aren’t going to be there, Zach.  You get a special friend.  Andrew is going to come to your school.”

            Zachary got a four-year-old look on his face.  “I don’t want Andrew,” he snapped.  “I want Grandma and Grandpa.” 

            Benjamin perked up, turning away from his Nemo toys.  Someone had said his favorite word.  He began a monologue about people and his school and visits and the Grumpy Lizard and GRANDPA.  He’s really into Grandpa, but we’re pretty sure he’ll be thrilled when he realizes Wanda is going to be visiting his class.

              The conversation had aftershocks over the next few days, when every time we mentioned that J’s best friend and his family were coming for the week, Zach would start in about not wanting Andrew.  Once they arrived, of course, he was reminded that Andrew is the only person he knows who never gets tired of conversation, so Zach was too busy talking his ear off to remember that this was an also-ran.

              Still, when you were the kid without a mother to show for Mother’s Day or a father to come in for Father’s Day, you get kind of sensitive.  They don’t call these events “Guardian’s Day,” believe it or not, and it always felt like the school plays and assemblies and graduations were events specially designed to remind me that there weren’t any adults who gave a fuck about my existence.  So, forgive me for hovering, but I am trying my damndest to be everything for these kids, given that they are short on extended relations and those we are still speaking to live a very long way away.  And, when I rustle up two friends to cover Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ day, I’d appreciate if you didn’t start applying White Out to the second half of the title.

             I might have been a wee bit testy yesterday when Zach’s teacher asked me, “How many people are coming in for Grandparents’ Day?” because I read the fine print.  Andrew may be thirty-five years younger than all the other visitors in the preschool this morning, but I can assure you he is a very special friend.