One Sunflower

the stuff they don’t tell you about teaching preschool

on March 2, 2010

I could tell by her voice that Maestra wasn’t going to be able to handle this well.  I looked in her eyes and stated simply and clearly, “I think we should skip toothbrushing and you should take everyone outside.” 

We had just concluded our Circle time activities and I was headed for the toothbrushes when BusterBrown vomited in his lap. As Maestra grabbed the garbage can and brought it in front of him, Cinderella stood and promptly puked on the floor in the center of Circle time. The other kids began to realize what was happening and were squawking “gross!” and giggling.  It was time for everyone to exit stage left!

I herded Maestra and the rest of the kids quickly towards their coats and the door while grabbing the other garbage can and propping Cinderella in front of it.  Once the other kids were out of the room I grabbed gloves, wash cloths, and plastic bags.  I knew Maestra would alert the office on the way out and the custodian would be arriving soon to tend to the carpet.

Once I was sure the “hurling” was over, I began stripping BusterBrown of his clothes – shoes, socks, pants, shirt – the kid had hit every article of clothing!  Luckily he’s not bashful because I had him standing on the sofa in his skivvies pulling a mismatched collection of clothes onto him, while the custodian worked on the carpet in front of us.  I had to cinch up the waist of the baggy pants over his skinny little butt so they wouldn’t slip off.  Then I tended to Cinderella.  Luckily, she had spare clothes in her back pack and only needed her shirt changed. 

Tracking down Cinderella’s parents to come pick her up took up the next hour.  We finally got ahold of them by cell phone an hour out-of-town!  Parents forget to tell their emergency contacts when they are leaving town and expect them to be responsible for their children in just such an emergency.

My planned activities went out the window.  The class had almost 45 minutes of PE outside with minimal supervision, no small group time, and extra free choice time.  When it came time for me to do my teacher story before journal writing, I decided to scrap my story about a trip to the zoo and instead, told about our eventful day.  I put the students to work describing our main characters.  But I took over when it came time to draw the puke flying into the garbage cans.  I thought I might get a few copies of my story in the student’s journals but only one child chose to retell it.  It shows me they are realizing they have their own important things to write about.

When I finally had time to catch up with Maestra after the bus run, she said, “I feel like an awful teacher.  I was freaking out!”  She wasn’t freaking out but I could tell that dealing with 2 puking kids was pushing her over the edge.  She dealt with two kids who threw up at lunch last week but she felt it was easier in the cafeteria, there is more staff to help for one thing – and there hadn’t been any soiled clothing.

Maestra and I are a good team.  We’re able to sense when the other is at the end of their rope – needing extra help in, or a break from, certain situations.  It’s not so funny when it’s happening around us, but we sure had a good laugh this afternoon!


One response to “the stuff they don’t tell you about teaching preschool

  1. Trout says:

    Hey Sunflower,

    I sometimes imagine you with your kiddos in the preschool classroom, and this story reminds me of the wide range of situations you must deal with including “hurling.” So far in my job working with adults this hasn’t happened. Let’s talk soon! Trout

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