I am officially no longer an assistant preschool teacher. As I’ve said many times, my gifts lie elsewhere very far away from child care or teaching young children. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t love them and two to three-year-olds are pretty adorable. When they’re being adorable. And frankly, even when they’re not being adorable they’re still pretty dang cute. Exasperating, but cute.
I haven’t quite decided which is the appropriate emotion – relief, excitement or melancholy.
My physical self is relieved the year is over. It seems I’ve had a lingering cold since somewhere around September and I’d like to get rid of it. I’m not sure how many noses I wiped just this morning, but on the playground I had a pocket full of snot. Please don’t whine about the disgusting nature of that comment. You’re not the one who had a huge bulge from countless AND FULL kleenex. I still think it was a good workout for my immune system, though. Now I just need to give it a little rest and Presto! I should be as good as new. That’s the plan, anyway.
The rusty knees are relieved, also. There were several times when two of my personalities argued with each other regarding whether or not I should get down on the floor. The 42-year-old-woman-trapped-in-a-90-year-old’s-body was always quick to gripe about how getting down wasn’t the problem, getting up was. The 4-year-old-trapped-in-a-42-year-old’s body really wanted to play with the cars or build blocks or have a tea party on the floor. Assuming I had adequate amounts of coffee that morning, the 4-year-old usually won. Unfortunately the 42-year-old would end up hobbling for the rest of the afternoon.
I am excited about my “new” job. I say “new” not only because I have finally accepted it as my calling, but also because I have several projects on the horizon. Which is probably because I’ve finally accepted it as my calling. (More on those projects in the near future) And just like I had a schedule to follow for preschool, I’m going to schedule time for my writing. I know for a fact it’s the only way I’ll ever get anything accomplished.
But mostly today I have felt melancholy. What an incredible privilege it’s been to help nurture these kids for the past nine months. The differences in their behaviors, their speech, their counting, their singing, their fine motor skills, etc., has been amazing. Because some of them had just barely turned two when school started circle time was chaotic at best. But eventually they all learned the routine, listened to the stories and sang the songs.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but our class had some unique challenges. When I subbed in the MWF class certain things were easier because they didn’t have those challenges. But it seems as though that difference is what made the Tuesday/Thursday class so special to me.
The best part about working at a preschool is the love that grows between the teacher (or her assistant) and the kids. I could easily pick up every one of my kiddos right now and squeeze them and munch on them. But the problem with that attachment is it’s only for a season. A very short season. Thankfully I go to church with a lot of the kids so hopefully I’ll still get to see them.
Oh, and I didn’t even get into the darling mothers. Such sweet young women! They so often reminded me of what it was like when my kids were in preschool and the friendships I had with some of the other mothers at that time. *sigh* That was easily one of the very best seasons of my life. And these young moms were so good to make me feel appreciated. If they only knew how inadequate I am as a preschool worker! But they puffed me up nonetheless and several of them told me they had hoped I’d move up and be with their kids again next year. But I do know the teachers for next year and those moms are going to be thrilled!
Then there’s Beth, the teacher I assisted. I had briefly met her at a birthday party last summer, but really didn’t know her at all when I started. What a delight she was! My melancholy is also due to the fact that she’s moving to Ohio next week. OHIO! That’s not a “let’s meet for lunch” kinda distance. I think of her as a kindred spirit – or at least someone with the same sense of humor as me. We knew all the same songs and movies and old TV shows and quoted or sung them often. She was very easy to assist and we fell into a good working routine. I will definitely miss her.
The rest of the staff is pretty incredible, too. Our director, Kelly, started this preschool and what a phenomenal job she’s done. I would say Providence Christian Preschool was a major success in only one school year. She’s so good at what she does that she’s no longer the preschool director. No, now she’s in charge of the entire children’s department at the church (which includes the preschool). I can tell that her successor, Leanne, is going to do a fantastic job as well. Them I won’t miss much because I see them all the time anyway.
Even though preschool is over, I’m not quite done. As I said above, I’m no longer an assistant preschool teacher, but I will be working next week and two weeks after that. Our preschool is doing three different week long camps and I’m working at two of them. I was only going to work at the last camp – Space Camp – but one of the women who was going to work the first camp – Dinosaur Camp – can’t be here next week. So I was asked to fill in for her.
“No problem”, I said. And I meant it. Of course it never occurred to me that she’s an excellent teacher and no doubt would be doing something teachy and not merely “babysitting”. Turns out I’ll be doing the Activity Center and had to make up a lesson plan and everything! I was a little freaked out by that at first, but once I got into it I had fun planning the week. I have a feeling I’ll be freaked out again on Monday. And Tuesday. Probably Wednesday. Possibly Thursday. I think I’ll have the hang of it by Friday.
So while preschool is technically over, I still have a paying job until June 20th. Then this season will be over and a new one will be starting. I wonder if it will ever be as fulfilling as this past school year was.