Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things kindergarten teachers won't tell you

(But I will tell you because I'm only a kindergarten teacher until I can get back to the States and start teaching high school.)

Yes, I do have favorites.
If you've been around this blog for a while (or if you've ever heard me speak for more than three seconds), you'll know Brian is my favorite student of all time. He's hilarious, he's creative, and he smacked me in the face during a staring contest so he could win. I adored him from the second I laid eyes on that little bowl cut, and absolutely no amount of "acting up" on his part would ever change that. The other day, I wore a new skirt to work, and I was feeling really self-conscious (because I've recently become acutely aware of the fact that I'm three times the size of every Korean woman ever). Brian came up to me and asked if the skirt was new, and I told him it was. He sighed and said, "Miss Nikki, you look so beautiful." How could this kid not be my favorite?

You can't buy my affection.
I don't choose my favorites based on things you buy me. I know you're used to throwing money at problems until they go away, and an uncooperative kindergarten teacher seems to be the biggest problem you currently have. When you come to have meetings to discuss my incompetencies or demand I change something trivial to appear more like the mail-order white girl you're paying good tuition dollars for, you really don't have to worry about giving me a useless gift. I've received a jewel-studded pen, thirty hard-boiled eggs, and $60 mug with an elephant on it as various forms of sucking up. Instead of wasting your time and money bribing the teacher to like your kid, I'd suggest just teaching your kid not to be such an asshole.

When you're rude to me, it makes me like your kid less.
I know this is horrifically unfair, and I do feel a twinge of guilt at admitting it. However, the fact of the matter is when you treat me like something unfortunate you stepped in, I can't stop myself from thinking about it every time your son blows snot all over his face then demands with a self-satisfied smirk that I clean him off. I try with everything in me to not let the kids know that they irritate the crap out of me because it's not their fault you suck. My principal, vice-principal, and co-teacher have all told me that you threatened to have my entire class shut down because I'm the worst teacher you've ever seen, and every time you talk to me I feel about three inches tall. Your kid sees you talking to me like a worthless servant, and so he talks to me that way too. Again, it's not his fault, and I'm trying as hard as I can to love your kid. You're just making it impossible.

Just because you technically pay my salary, doesn't mean you run the classroom.
It amazes me how many of you stay-at-home-moms "used to be teachers" and therefore have a million great ideas about how to run my classroom. Unfortunately, none of you have ever (to my knowledge) tried to teach a room full of toddlers who didn't speak your language and are spoiled beyond belief. No, I will not move your son to the smart table just because you bought me a cupcake. He thinks "chicken" is the room in your house where you cook food. Last week, one of you came into my room after school and moved my tables away further away from the board, explaining to my co-teacher that children have "sensitive eyes" and shouldn't be that close to the board. Last time I checked, my dry erase board wasn't shooting laser beams into the kids' faces, but I'll check again just to be sure.

The awards are meaningless.
Every month, I have to select a "Star of the Month" and a "Good Neighbor" in my class. I have eleven students, and there are twelve months in the year. Therefore, every student will receive each award at least once. It's guaranteed. After I gave out my awards last month, three separate parents scheduled meetings with me to find out why their kids weren't chosen as the recipients of arbitrarily dispersed sheets of thick paper. When I first started at GATE, I actually put some thought into who would receive the awards each month. However, when the school year ended and I was forced to hand out seven awards in one month to make sure each student had received both possible certificates, the whole ritual lost its meaning. Basically the awards now go to the kids whose parents are the easiest to get along with, and by scheduling a meeting to discuss how your student can win the next month, you've secured that he won't be winning for a while.

I hate when you watch me teach.
There's a window in my classroom because the school built it that way. I hate it with a passion, but there's nothing I can do to change it. I've tried to cleverly cover it with art projects, but you just complain until my co-teacher takes them down. I can't think of any other professions where this is acceptable. Can you imagine if all CEO's were required to have windows, and anyone who so desired could stand outside their offices and judge their every move? Sometimes, I sit down. I spend the whole day doing what roughly equates to chasing eleven puppies, and occasionally, that makes me tired. If I'm sitting at my desk during lunch, don't run off and tell my boss that I don't care about the children. I wish I could come to your house and watch you parent whenever I want to; maybe that would keep you from messing your kids up so badly.

Some kids are smarter than others.
I'm not a parent, so I don't quite relate to the whole "my kid's a genius" thing, but I do understand the concept. Your genetic material went into designing that particular spawn, and you're proud that it has the appropriate number of appendages and is semi-potty-trained. It's your job to make your kid think he's already a rocket scientist, and it's my job to give him the skills to one day maybe become one. Therefore, when I suggest that maybe, just maybe, he should try writing with the pointy side of the pencil, don't get your panties all in a twist. The girl at the table beside his can already read, and your son went into the bathroom with his pants on the right way and somehow emerged with them on completely backwards. If we want him to progress at all, I need to put him in the group with kids more his speed, like the one who gets his face stuck in the sleeve of his coat every time he tries to put it on. It's nothing personal; he's three. Three-year-olds shouldn't be in all-day kindergarten anyway, but that's another rant for another day.


  1. I wish you were my kids kindergarten teacher!! I swear I'd make you cupcakes and treat you like the wonderful person you are! but that's because I know my kids need you and I want you to be as happy putting up w/ their crap as possible, especially because I know how horrible they can be! :-) And three year olds in all day kindergarten??? heck, Bo is 6 and hates spending all day in school, even though he's able and managing somehow to keep up but that's because he's got a great Kindergarten teacher! You rock, don't let them get to you! Remember, it's a different culture and no matter how you try, you may never understand why they do what they do.

  2. OMG! I was rolling! The last one is wonderful! You tell 'em, Nikki!

  3. Wow. I've had some push parents, but never that bad!

  4. You said no one told you these things...but sweetheart, I mostly certainly told you all these things. ;)