I think there are many hazards teachers face when teaching a bunch of preschoolers. There is one hazard that may stand out as more dangerous than all of the others: talking the same way to preschoolers as well as adults.
Subs: Good Little Helpers
Last week, Asher’s preschool held a teacher’s appreciation luncheon during last hour of one of their school days. Each class needed a few adults to substitute while all of the teachers went to celebrate and eat. I volunteered and was hanging out for a while before we officially took over. At one point the adults were talking with a teacher and, during the conversation, she looked straight at a few of us adults and said “there are lots of good little helpers today.” Uh, what???
Did she just say that I was a good little helper? I mean, sure it was a nice little compliment, but I am probably about a foot taller than her. Maybe there were some big helpers also, no??
I actually experienced this same type of conversational tone last fall when I was being lectured by Asher’s teachers. They thought we had taken Asher to school sick even though we had not. The truth did not prevent “the talk” where his teachers tag teamed me and sternly instructed me on the reasons why parents do not bring sick children to school. The worst part of the whole thing was they were lecturing me like I was a five-year-old. I walked away from that moment very incensed.
A Pride Issue
Being talked to like that struck a huge blow to my pride. It revealed a deep-seated need to be seen as a wise adult and not just someone who needs to be sent to the corner for his misbehavior. That moment opened up a mirror for me to take a look at myself. While greatly irritating, moments like that are helpful to me because they show me where I can misplace my sense of pride.
Of course, maybe the better plan is to periodically provide a Speaks-To-Everyone-Like-They-Are-A-5-Year-Old Intervention for all of the teachers throughout the school year.
I will let you be the judge of that one… I have some pride inside that needs to be taken care of.