Family Magazine

I Feel Sorry For My Son's Teacher

By Molly Thiersch @crazedkitchen
It’s Back-to-School time, and although our school year hasn’t quite started here, I already feel sorry for my son’s teacher. Here’s why:
I Feel Sorry For My Son's Teacher
For the past couple of years, I’ve been able to ignore the Back-to-School frenzy that seizes the country this time of year. My oldest was in year-round preschool and the only “supplies” we were asked to bring were paper towel rolls and empty milk jugs for art projects, and extra underwear for, well…you know. 

I Feel Sorry For My Son's Teacher

Milk jug Easter Bunny. Duh.

This year, though, I’m in it. My oldest starts Kindergarten next week and we are ALL ABOUT back-to-school here. We’ve been talking about raising your hand and being nice to your friends. We’ve been working to master the essential skill of wiping one’s own butt. My son picked out a Star Wars backpack and some new T-shirts, while I stocked up on Kleenex, chardonnay, and Xanax.
That’s not just me, right?
Academically, he’s ready, too. He’s got mad math skills, thanks to his dad’s genes, and he’s learning how to read and write. See? Here’s a little note he left us taped to the microwave. I do believe that this is the first complete sentence he has ever written.

I Feel Sorry For My Son's Teacher

It says, "NO GO IN BUTT"

We are so proud.
Anyway, I’m not sure his Kindergarten teacher will appreciate all the time he has spent learning to write words like “butt,” “poop,” “pee,” and “fart.” She might even ask me why on earth I taught him how to spell those words.
And though what I’ll be thinking is, “Hey, it kept him quiet for a few minutes,” what I’ll say is something like, “Well, I wanted to encourage his emergent literacy skills while also reinforcing his fine motor skills and letter-sound associations.”
And that’s when she might start to tremble with fear. Because, guess what?
I’m a teacher, too.
Which makes my son a teacher’s worst nightmare: Another teacher’s kid.
Though I’m taking a break from the game right now, I spent 11 years as an elementary school teacher—so I know all about how classrooms work. Even “better,” I spent a good many of those teaching years coaching and mentoring other teachers, so I’m really experienced at evaluating other teachers’ techniques.
And by “evaluating,” I mean, of course, “judging.”
As a mom, I’ve really really really tried hard to keep my professional opinions to myself when my sons have been in various classes. I gritted my teeth and smiled at the 19-year-old Gymboree teacher who spoke to the kids in that fakey-fake sing-song voice some grown-ups use. I bit my tongue hard when an “Art for Tots” teacher told my 3-year-old not to use that color on that picture. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to offer “constructive criticism” to the swim lesson teacher who offered my injured son a piece of gum rather than a band-aid for his bleeding toe. “ARE YOU NUTS???” I screamed in my head each time. “What kind of a teacher are you????”
And, though we are lucky to live in a good school district with great teachers, I know there will be times this year when I will question my son’s teacher’s judgment.
But, for the most part, I will keep my mouth shut.
I will do that because…I’ve been there. Almost every year of my teaching career so far, I’ve had another teacher’s kid in my class. At first it intimidated me to know that another, more experienced teacher was looking over the homework I sent home and quizzing her child about the day’s activities. I calmed down about it as I became more experienced myself, but I still got a little nervous for those parent-teacher conferences.
I Feel Sorry For My Son's Teacher
And the fact that I’ve been there is good news for both me and my son’s teacher. I know what it’s like to be in a classroom full of young kids all day. I know what a teacher means when she says with a forced smile, “This is a really energetic group of students!” I know how hard it is to effectively teach a group of students who are all Kindergarteners by name but whose skills may span several grade levels. I know to help my son take care of his homework folder and notebook because there’s a good chance his teacher spent her own hard-earned money to buy it. I know how hard she works every day…and many evenings…and most weekends…and for a good part of the summer, too.
So, next week I will send my boy off to Kindergarten. I may cry a bit, and I’m sure I’ll worry a lot. And, yeah, I’ll probably look long and hard at the homework he brings home each day. But, unless a major problem arises, I’ll let the teacher do her job—without my advice.
If you're a teacher, you'll love this. Check it out:

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