Friday, August 22, 2008

Let the craziness begin

Last night marked the unofficial beginning of my school year...Meet-the-Teacher night. Overall, it went pretty well & definitely much better than last year* (see below). I'm pretty nervous about teaching the 3 year olds, since it is a new age group for me, but the kids I met were very outgoing and friendly, so at least I won't have to worry about wrestling them out of their cars on the first day.

Two of the little boys (twins) actually gave me hugs as soon as they met me...they're sweet little buggers & full of energy, and for that reason, I think they'll be my biggest challenges, as well. Despite the fact that the handbook clearly states that children must be 3 years old and potty trained before coming to preschool, the twins' mom told me that one of them really just starting to get the hang of using the potty and wondered if I would be able to give him M&Ms after each time he successfully uses the bathroom, because he really responds well to that. In my most tactful and professional teacher-talk, I tried to nip that one in the bud before it began. First of all, I am not a babysitter or a toddler-room daycare worker. My job is solely to mold and shape these kids and give them the academic and social experiences that I think they need to be successful. Secondly, I have a child with a severe peanut allergy in the class, so M&Ms are not allowed, as we have a peanut-free classroom (and M&Ms contain traces of nuts due to the machinery they're processed on). And thirdly, what would the other kids think? They'll all do a great job at "going potty" but M's the only one that gets rewarded? Noooooo....I basically told the mom that I definitely understand her predicament and support her in what she's trying to accomplish, but there is just no way that I can carry out that type of reward system in my room. I also added that we're often so busy in the classroom that by the time we get around to going to the bathroom, the kids just go without thinking about it...my biggest worry there is that since he's obviously just barely potty trained, he'll need to go at the most inopportune times. I don't have a bathroom in my classroom, so group potty breaks are a must, at least until I can get a good bathroom buddy system worked out, since it isn't just right outside our classroom either.

In the end, I told the mom that I would keep an eye on the situation and I would stay in contact with her if I thought that some kind of plan was in order. If he's easily motivated by things other than food, then there will be no issue, since I often rewarded my 4-year-olds with stickers after bathroom breaks for "making good choices" in the bathroom. Stickers I can do, candy I cannot.

In other exciting news, two of the parents of my students also approached me throughout the night to tell me that they knew where Clearfield (my alma mater) was. I was extremely surprised (and curious), since next-to-noone from this part of the state has even heard of it, despite the fact that there's an entire county named after it. One of the dads went to the Lock Haven branch campus located there and another dad goes hunting and fishing in Clearfield County, right at the sportsmen's club near my parents' house! It's a small, small world....

*For those of you that don't know, last year's Meet-the-Teacher was the day after my miscarriage (so I was already an emotional mess) and then I had crazy parents (ok really just one) complaining to me about my snack policy, which is that the kids each bring in their own snack daily, even though her child has severe food allergies. She was upset because the kids really looked forward to the surprise of what their friends would bring in for snack each day...you know, because snack is such a HUGE part of our day...a whopping 10-15 minutes... So, instead of going along with what I wanted to do, she proceeded to take charge of my meeting to open the floor for a vote as to what the other parents wanted to do...nevermind the fact that I had already made that decision and had it approved by my director. So then, she proceeded to report back to my director saying something about me being too rigid to teach preschool...and I cried like a baby all night....

And finally, some pictures of my room...

7 comments:

Erin said...

o ur room is so cute..i want to go to school now!!

Kara said...

Ooh!! It looks great!!!! I want to be in your class! (and I won't even ask for m&m's when I go potty!!! ;) )

Hafsa said...

Ugh I know exactly how crazy parents can be, but you handled it so well. This year and the previous year. I too would have cried bc I'm entirely too sensitive but so what right? I love the way your classroom looks and so you have inspired me to put up a few pics of my class. Soon to come!

mjenningsdesigns said...

Your room looks great! I remember those first days well!

Megan said...

Your room looks so cute! I'm glad this year is starting off better than last. I cannot even begin to imagine dealing with a crazy parent on top of having your own personal tragedy in the midst of it.

Michael, Karen, Morgan, J.D. & Levi said...

Delurking...my brother-in-law is from Clearfield, PA. I grew up in Allentown, but was born in Erie.

Yes, it is a very small world!

Wishing you the best in your new school year. Your classroom looks great! I remember I used to get some of the craziest requests from parents of my 2 & 3 Year Old class kids. It's amazing how some of them think you have all day to spend one on one time with each kid. I had 22 kids with one team teacher. We were lucky to get everyone fed lunch on time!

Ter said...

aw, I like your classroom!