Monday, 16 May 2011
In her prime, but teaching has taken its toll.
I teach very small children. They are in their first year of primary school, and most of them haven't had any kind of schooling before now.
Sometimes I love them. Sometimes, they do things that make me want to tear my hair out, run for the hills, scream and throttle them. All at once.
I find that most of teaching is common sense, particularly dealing with the age group that I have. It is less about teaching content (although there is plenty of that) and more about teaching them the social skills and routines required at school. Still, sometimes I am stumped.
What do you do, for example, when you spy one child roaming around the other side of the playground, lost, but you have your whole class with you, with nobody else around. My approach was just to take them with me, like a mother duck and her ducklings, however things took a turn when one child fell and another child vomited. Thankfully the roaming child came back.
Then what do you do, when said roaming child puts her empty bag over her head (with her head inside) and promptly trips over a group of seated children, like a wild, two-headed bowling ball? Not much, actually, except watch with a faint sense of amusement mixed with the familiar feeling of dread.
What do you do when one child screams blue murder, furiously rips leaves off the nearest bush and tries to kick you when all you did to warrant this type of behaviour was to ask him to stop pushing his classmate? I ignored him and ate my sandwich.
What do you do when a child turns up to school with no sandwich and no socks on a freezing cold winter's day?
What do you do when a particularly overzealous parent demands to know why her son cannot read? When every fibre of your being is concentrating on not yelling out "Because your son is super-dumb!"
What do you do when the children put stickers on your skirt, hug you spontaneously, write their first sentence, remember your name and where the homework belongs and how to get to the library? When they make you pretend choc-chip ice-cream because you requested it or find where you left your sunglasses? When they notice your new haircut as soon as they see you or are so passionate about your new shoes that they feel the need to rub their hands and face all over them and occasionally clean them with their own spit?
Sigh, tie their shoelaces, send them home and thank your lucky stars you are not their parent.
Until you pull up at your local supermarket and one of them bloody pulls up* in the carspace next to you.
*in the back seat of course!