Friday, March 28, 2008

Recovering Teacher


I today we went to eat lunch with Clayton at school - all of us: Mom, Dad, Nana, brother, sister - everyone. Eating lunch at school with him would not be an option for Billy and I if we were still in the classroom - not until he got into high school at least. And then who really wants to eat with their parents?


The cafeteria was loud and full of energy. The classroom teacher for my son's pre-school class was not there today, but the classroom aide was. She was running from one side of the table to the other, opening ketchup packets, getting napkins, solving disputes, redirecting behaviors. It was almost comical. When we asked her how she was, she let out a big sigh and said, "Ok. I'm ok." Almost like she was trying to convince herself.
Billy and I were interacting with the kids, talking about their pets, what they've done in school today...They know us. I'm the "homeroom mom." As they filled out of the cafeteria line, they were tyring to sit at our table first, until it was filled. It was fun eating lunch with all the kids.
When the chaos and fun was all over, Clayton asked us to walk him back to his room . I was holding Addison's hand, walking slowly behind the line of children. The aide was pulling out all the stops to get them to walk down the hall, through the library area, quietly. You are all like little mice. Keep your hands to yourself - Give yourself a big hug.
In the classroom the children were all supposed to sit on their "square" on the rug. They were up, talking, dancing, going through their backpacks - anything but finding their squares and waiting for the next set of instructions.
The teacher came out in me. I bent over, put my teacher face on, lowered my voice and told them they'd been asked to do thing and needed to comply immediately. I was like a smoker walking through the cloud of smoke in front of the building doors after break-time. I asked the ones still standing, "Where's your square, hon? Let's get to it." I reminded them how they are supposed to act. I was like a duck in water.
Recovery may take longer than I thought.
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