They Learned

School ended for the boys and me yesterday. Scott has greatly anticipated this event. He’s been out of school for three weeks, and has been home alone a lot since then. He’s kept himself busy with the kids’ end of year things and playing catch up on some work things he needed to do, but he told me that he’s been a bit lonely. Now he has someone to hang out with again. Awww….

I am ready for summer. This year was a big change from my previous jobs in Parent’s Day Out. As the director, I never truly understood the work of the teacher. Now I do. If things go as planned, I will not be in a classroom fulltime next year. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it immensely, but there are things I will not miss. In the last 9 months, I have given a hand in potty training 14 children (3 were already trained when they came to me), I have gently held kids down until they fell asleep at naptime (or at least until they looked like they were asleep), I have wiped countless noses and other body parts, kissed booboos, consoled kids who missed their mommy, dog, dad, grandma,…, pulled kids off of monkey bars, tables, shelves, and other children, put kids in time out only to find them doing the same thing the minute they get out of time out, and swept up animal crackers, raisins, hot dog pieces, smushed up peanut butter sandwiches and so on…. I even got slapped in the face and spit at a time or two. There have been days when I never wanted to see a three year old again, and then I took one home with me. Thus, the hope for an assignment change next year.

And, I have fallen in love. There were days that I would go determined to remain in the foul mood I arrived in, and a child would cheer me up in spite of it. Those 17 kids touched my life. There are things I will truly miss. All those things I listed before made it hard, but they managed to creep into my heart. I got daily hugs and requests to be held (even from the kid that slapped and spit), was told I was beautiful, received artwork made at home especially for me, invitations to play with dinosaurs, babies, cars, books, puzzles (and even to come to their house to play those things there), and was admired for my drawing ability (which I really don’t have any of!). By the end of the year, they stopped showing me what they got out of their nose. They had learned where to get the tissues and how to wash their hands. They learned to throw away the paper towel instead of sticking it in the drain or just throwing it on the floor. They got better at keeping their food on the table and to throw it away when they were done at lunch. They didn’t leave my room knowing all their letters, colors, shapes, and numbers, but I think they are ready to learn those things from their next teacher. They are moving on to other things, and I am too. They probably won’t remember me years down the road, but I will always remember them.
One of my younger kids had a tendency to use the entire bottle of soap when she washed her hands. She pumped and pumped until she had washed not only her hands, but her arms, face, and clothes. I reminded her day after day to only use one pump. Near the end of the year, she’d stand on the stool and would get one pump of soap on her hands. Then she’d exclaim proudly that she only got one pump. She said it with such fanfare that she generally would throw her hands in the air and the soap would fall off. She was so proud of herself. I was proud of her too.
At the end of every day, the school janitor would come by to change the trash bags. As the kids would get up from nap, they would stand at the door and watch for him to come down the hall. Then, four of them would rush over to the trash can and carefully walk it to the door so he could have it. They would then wait patiently until he was done replacing the bag and would then carry it back to it’s proper place. The janitor got a big kick of it.
Almost every day of lunch, I had a water bottle that I would add some lemonade powder from one of those to go packs. I had the same conversation every day as I made the lemonade.

Mrs. Lori, what you put in your water?
It’s lemonade.
Why you do that?
Because I like lemonade.
(By this time I have added the powder. I put the lid back on and start shaking the bottle.)
You shaking it?
Yes I am so it will get mixed in.

The last couple days, one of the little boys brought some Sunny Delight in a sports bottle. At lunch, he started shaking his juice and said “Look Lori, I shake my bottle like you!” Luckily, the lid was on. That wasn’t the case for all the kids who started shaking their drinks.
I am so glad I listened when God told me to apply for a job when I was checking out preschools around town. That’s just three stories. I could spend all day writing stories about the year, but that wouldn’t make Scott and the boys very happy. There are things to be done around here!



2 thoughts on “They Learned

  1. Although I’ve never taught in pre-school and had the experiences or the same stories you related I understand the attachment you have to the children. Even with older students I found myself falling in love with them and feeling they are mine. Even today I wonder about some of the students I had 30 years ago — what became of them either because they were a real pleasure or a real pain. 🙂 You always hear about the impact teacher make on students, but students also make a big impact on teachers and that is why so many of us teach for so little —- we get so much that the business world doesn’t understand.

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