Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I could never be a preschool teacher

I spent the morning working in Lily's class at preschool, and to say that I came home feeling scrambled would be an understatement. The school Lily goes to, and that Ella went to and that Campbell will go to, is a cooperative school. Parents work one morning every other week in the classroom. I really do like being in the classroom and watching Lily interact with her peers. It's an interesting look into the part of her world that has nothing to do with me, except for the day that I work.

But all the same, goodness it's hard. It's like herding 12 noisy, hyperactive kittens - and she's in a class with some really great kids, most of whom I've known since they were toddlers. I honestly don't know how the teachers do it day in and day out. I know I couldn't, at least not without developing a nasty twitch.

And it's not like I don't have experience dealing with kids. For 7 years I coached swimming full time. Six days a week I wrangled about 40 kids in a swimming pool. Kids en masse don't scare me. I suppose the difference between preschool and my coaching days is that the kids I worked with were middle school aged. They had an attention span of longer than 15 seconds, and they were at least a little bit logical. And they didn't cry, much. They didn't think it was the height of comedy to squirt their yogurt tubes at each other - or at least the girls didn't think that. Plus, if they misbehaved, I could make them swim more laps - butterfly. That threat alone was usually enough to calm them down.

You can't threaten preschoolers, at least not preschoolers who don't belong to you. Instead, you have to get down to their eye level and discuss appropriate behaviors and ways to use their words instead of their fists. I'd much prefer to just yell "Don't hit your friends" and be done with it. But I think we'd get expelled from the school.

It's a good thing I only have to co-op every other week, any more often and I'd probably end up with a drinking problem. I have 13 days of recovery until my next work day. I hope I make it.


MadMad said...

I agree completely. With everything. Plus you need to shower after all that nose picking, bum and ahem scratching and bathroom visiting where EVERY SINGLE PART of their body for some reason touches the toilet... Yikes. I practically need a shower now, just thinking about it!

Suburban Correspondent said...

middle-schoolers, logical? Wait until those cute girls of yours hit 13.

Family Adventure said...

I think it's awesome that the kids go to a cooperative school, and that you are able to go biweekly. And even though there are days where it feels like such a chore to go, I'm sure you have lots of days where the kids' antics make you laugh, too.

- Heidi :)

hokgardner said...

Don't get me wrong - I love being in the class with the kids, but goodness.

Yesterday, one of the moms, who is a drama teacher at UT, led the Lily's class in little acting exercises that were hystericaly funny and heart-breakingly cute at the same time. I was kicking myself for not having brought my camera.