The End of a Season

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.


  1. mel on May 29, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Great post. I could relate with the whole thing — esp. the 40-something bod that thinks it can do the same things the kids can do!I spent a few days with S4J and what a thrill ride that was! Maybe she’ll post some of our music.Enjoy your summer!

  2. Becky on May 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    In high school, this would have been one of those moments where I went and consoled myself by playing Michael W. Smith’s “Friends are Friends Forever” and eating Skittles. *sniff* It’s sad to say goodbye, but ya done good, woman! Made a positive impact in their little lives. My niece worked in a preschool for a couple of years, but found that she needed a job with more income. She works in a men’s prison now as a guard, lol. And believe it or not, working in the preschool PREPARED her for working in the prison, lol.I hope your new profession involves finally getting that book published!!

  3. Gretchen on May 29, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Jen, it’s okay to feel melancholy. In addition to being the end of your job, it’s change of season, and I know for me anyway, change is hard. It’s hard despite whether or not it’s a good change to embrace. That said, I’m thrilled for your new vocation, and can’t wait to be one of your reviewers ;). xxxooogretchen

  4. Casdok on May 30, 2008 at 2:46 am

    I felt i was there with the runny noses! Lovely post and i wish you every happiness for your new season!

  5. Mama P on May 30, 2008 at 5:18 am

    I am certain that you will make a success out of whatever you choose to do, or are called to do as vocations often are. And I truly believe, for what it’s worth, that knowing what doesn’t work is half the battle at being successful at what does work. I’ll be back to check in.

  6. Monnik on May 30, 2008 at 9:04 am

    You feel a bit melancholy because you have a huge heart and you’ll miss the kids, parents,and teachers. And that’s ok.I know you’re going to be a huge success at your next endeavor, and I can’t wait to follow your progress while you’re writing!!!

  7. His Girl on May 30, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I remember my last day of teaching preschool… it was the oddest thing. Though I don’t miss it, I find that the things I learned in the classroom have never stopped coming up- even 13 years later.I can’t wait to see what God’s gonna do in your new chapter!

  8. Travis Erwin on May 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

    My wife feels the same way but she has already committed for another tour of duty next year.

  9. Dev on May 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I did daycare when I was younger ~ I’m glad I did it then; I couldn’t do it now. I love the kids; but would probably have little to no patience for the parents.

  10. Sherry/Cherie on May 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Ah Jen…the change of seasons in our lives…always a little melancholy, a little bittersweet. Savour those moments and when the time is right you will begin to blossom into your new season.For all the love you felt, remember all the love you gave…it’s now time for “you” ♥

  11. The Daily "B" on May 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    You scared me for a second… I saw the “The End” and sucked air in. NO! Good thing I continued reading, your not leaving us.This was such a good post. I can so relate with the relationship between you and “your” kids. I’ve been teaching SS since I was 17. I love these kids, poopy pants and runny noses included. Your new career is going to be wonderful! I can’t to hear more.

  12. Lynilu on May 30, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    What a great post. Endings are often hard, to be sure, but an ending signifies the beginning of something new, too. I must say that there is little in this world that is more rewarding than working with children, and it is clear that you have enjoyed this time greatly. Cherish it. And remember what they taught you!But I’ll take exception on one point, my dear. You say being in the 42 year old body is challenging, and I won’t disagree, but I’d give anything to turn back the clock to 42 and have a go at life today with that body!!! I understand completely, Jen, I really do. I just wish I could put it in the paper bag, shake it up and take out a younger body! Overlook tha little whine!! I’ve been out in the yard and how I’d love to be younger and have the stamina I did then. grooooan.Looking forward to hearing about your new life!!

  13. Jenster on May 30, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Mel – We must have been leaving each other comments at the same time! LOLBecky – Preschool/Prison – yeah. I can see the corrolation. :o)Gretchen – You know it!Casdok – Thanks!MamaP – I firmly believe that same thing.Monnik – My heart’s not the only thing about me that’s big. But then after our recent emails you already knew that! lolHis Girl – I can’t wait to see what He has planned for me, too!Travis – I get the feeling your Jen is a pretty gifted teacher, though.Dev – We had great parents. But then there’s a difference between preschool parents and daycare parents – generally speaking, of course.Sherry – You are so wise!Deb – I used to teach 3rd & 4th grade SS and loved it. I think I learned just as much as they did! lolLynilu – I don’t think I’d mind it so much if my body behaved more like a 42-year-old’s. But it seems to be getting there. With that said, I’m glad it does what it does for me! :o)

Leave a Reply