Monday, February 25, 2008

Wait. What Was I Talking About?

I think I've recently been tagged. And I know I've won another major award (catching up from all those awards I didn't win in high school). But y'all will forgive me, right, if I don't come back to that for a day or two? Honest? You will?

Let me tell you about my day. It began at six, like every week day, and as Mondays go, it was alright. I actually really like Mondays. Everyone goes back to school and work and I have the quiet house all to myself. Aaahhhh. Wonderful. A little house work, till last week a little homework, a little blogging, a little bill paying, loads and loads of laundry - it's all good. What's not to like?

Today, however, I was scheduled to cover for a pre-K teacher, the same one I covered for the very first day I substituted. The gig started at nine, so I was able to get all of the kids off to school and get the Hunny his coffee. A leisurely morning. Talked to my favorite cousin on the way in to school (she reads here, so I have to say she's my favorite ;P), ate some Fritos (nothing like packing lunch when there's no food). Ready for the day!


I absolutely love the four and five year olds. Have I told y'all this before? I'm very bad about turning down sub positions unless they're kindergarten or pre-K. It's mostly like herding cats, but they smile and respond beautifully to any kindness or praise. It's easy to be firm and sweet at the same time with the little guys. At this age the teacher is still just mom, mostly. An educational mom. A mother of 20 four year olds. How great is that?

Today there was a morning group and an afternoon group (the norm in pre-K), each with different personalities. Both groups were well behaved. I'm always amazed, with such young children, how trusting they are, how easily they warm up to a complete stranger. Sometimes I'm not there five minutes before some little girl is slipping her hand in mine while she talks, or climbing into my lap to talk. I try to remain in motion so that last doesn't happen, but it's so sweet when they want to hold your hand while walking somewhere. By the end of the day, the boys are usually the ones talking my ear off, telling me their life stories, which at that age is very short and often repeated multiple times.

I was reminded today of what I loved when I considered being an educator. See that curly mop head? That's me when I worked as a preschool teacher for a daycare back in Maryland, before I married the Hunny. Can you believe those glasses? They were the thing to wear at the time! I know, right? Geez! But do I look like a boy or what? Can you believe the Hunny dated me then? And even asked me to marry him, right about that time? I KNOW! Geez!!!

Where was I? Oh! Preschool! I have a BS in elementary education, but I knew that I didn't want to teach, didn't want lessons plans, classroom discipline, etc. Ew. Coming out of college, though, I had to work, and being with kids was what I knew, so I got a job at a respected daycare near D.C. I was placed in a three and four year old classroom. I loved it! The kids were sweet, the parents loved me, I loved the kids and location. It worked for me. The director let me bring in my animals, which the kids and parents adored.

First I brought in the mice which the Hunny bought me. Three mice, all of which were supposed to be girls. Not. Every eight weeks we'd take a litter of mice to the pet store and trade for mouse chow. I made the owner swear he'd only sell them as pets. They were sleek, plump little things with brown and white spots, absolutely beautiful. The kids and I were handling them as soon as we were able, and they ate well, with offerings from the children's lunches. Apples, carrots, bits of sandwiches, grapes. The pet store loved to see us coming, with our hand raised mice.

Next I brought in Clive, the cockatiel I gave the Hunny for his birthday. The kids would walk around the classroom with the bird on their shoulders, Clive giving them kisses. Occasionally I would also bring in the finches. We had a Beta fish in a bowl to keep all of these critters company.

Eventually I bought a little Chinese garter snake, with a red head and a yellow underbelly. Sweetest little thing ever. His name was Rob. The kids loved him and I had him up till I lost him in Walter Reed Hospital, the big military hospital there near D.C. He was there to visit a friend and escaped from his box. We wandered up and down the halls, she in her hospital gown trailing an IV, but we never found him. It was a very sad day, but my friend was greatly cheered at the thought of someone else unexpectedly finding Rob.

Not too long after Rob's escape I acquired a black rat snake about four feet long. When I say acquired him, I mean that I actually caught him in the woods in Virginia on a fall day when he was getting ready to shed and couldn't really run away. When I saw merely that I caught him in the woods, I mean that the Hunny (we were engaged) came running to me yelling that he'd seen a big black snake (had no idea what it was) and that I had to come catch it RIGHT NOW. I'd never actually CAUGHT a snake before, but I went ahead. I didn't have him for very long because he was always letting off a nasty musky odor and biting me. He wasn't poisonous, but his bite hurt. I let him go in the woods.

The last snake I had in daycare - well, one of the children stretched him. Very, very sad. And I don't have a picture of even one of these babies. That's sad, too.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah - the little kids. They were fun and all, but I became too attached, They were all calling me mom. I felt like they were mine. So I had to quit. They weren't mine. I think maybe that's why I like subbing, too. A day isn't long enough to get seriously attached. Especially when there are problems going on at home and you want to get involved, make life better for that little one. It hurts. But maybe I'll go back for certification when my kids are a little older, try and get a job in a kindergarten or pre-K class. I think I could do that now.

Sorry to ramble so. It was really a lovely day. I hope that yours was too. Until I write again ...

Flea

18 comments:

Karen said...

I think you'd be a teacher I'd love for my kids to have.

dlyn said...

Karen said what I was thinking - any classroom of kids would be blessed to have you around. And I had a pair of those glasses, but mine were red like Sally Jessie Raphael's cause I am like SO cutting edge all through the years.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Love your limerick entries!

The second one is awesome!

Hallie

Asthmagirl said...

It's easy to see you love the kids, and I understand that it's hard to keep a professional distance when they're climbing in your lap!
Thanks for the great perspective!

Marguerite said...

I am SO going Googling to find a "snake terrorizes Walter Reed hospital" news story. :D

Flea said...

Thanks guys. And good luck with that, Margo. It might have escaped in my car, but we liked to think it escaped in the hospital. Never found it in the car.

Marguerite said...

OK, so I didn't find evidence of your wayward adventures. You'd be amazed though at the number and variety of links that are produced by "snake Walter Reed".

Driving With the Brakes On said...

That was exactly the reason I became a substitute teacher - all the love and fun with none of the lesson plans or responsibility. So glad you had a wonderful day!

OHmommy said...

Love your rambles... I can almost hear your voice!

Tammy said...

I was a teachers aid for a few years working with special needs kids and I loved it.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I'm stuck on the part where a kid stretched a snake. Ouch! No wonder our daycare keeps the Guinea Pig in his cage all the time. Toddlers are fantastic, but they can be a wee bit cruel when you're not watching.

Colleen said...

My ultracool glasses were blue on the top half, graduating to pink on the bottom.

and I am VERY glad I didn't find that snake at Walter Reed, although I'm glad to think that there's one less black rat snake in VA...I do NOT <3 snakes. Yes, I have a silly irrational fear of them. I see a snake, screech then run in the opposite direction. :)

Melissa said...

I think I would love to have had you for Hope's K teacher. I'm still not sure if I like the one she has now or not. ;)

Mayberry Magpie said...

That is one gorgeous head of hair, Flea. No wonder you asked about Oatmeal Head. If he takes after you, he should definitely let it grow out. He will be rewarded with your most beautiful curls.

Mayberry Magpie

Lori said...

"...Well, one of the children stretched him." OH I love it!
I have a friend whose nephew "flipped" his hamster. When he complained that the hamster wouldn't play, they asked him what happened. He had been sitting on the bottom bunk of a bunk-bed and explained, "I was just flipping him." (this is where you imagine the repeated thud) I know, it is awful and side-splittingly hilarious at the same time!!!!
I, too, think about subbing when my kiddo goes off to school. Sounds fun!

Flea said...

Flipped the hamster? Oh hilarious! And yes, I'd love for Oatmeal Head to have the curls. It's just such a struggle to get past the hideous stage! Summer is coming, though. His friends all call him McLovin, from SuperBad (which we haven't seen), and are giving him a hard time about the hair. Argh.

Poltzie said...

Those glasses are HOT!!
Your post makes me excited to have a little 3 or 4 year old :)

Weezee said...

I taught daycare for a year or so when I was in my 20's and loved it. 13 three year olds it was great, except the day the hamster in our room died. We cried all day and I had to answer all kinds of hamster heaven questions. I loved those kids though.

Flea I had to pay for my hair to look like that. You are lucky girl!