Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Adventures from Summer Camp

Alternately Titled... Why I Don't Teach Pre-K

I'm in charge of the reading and writing activities for the future third-fifth graders at camp, but for the rest of the day, all of the adults keep an eye on all of the kids. One little darling (who is going to kindergarten in the fall) is a real piece of work. She makes me laugh now, but if I had her in my classroom, I'd be pulling my hair out. Here's a delightful vignette starring my little friend, for your reading pleasure.

Last week, the following exchange ensued while the kiddies were getting changed for the pool:

Other Girl: Miss M!!! She still has her panties on under her bathing suit!
Me: Okay... Little Darling, go take them off in the bathroom.
Little Darling: My mom said I have to wear them to the pool and take them off there.
Me: No, you need to do it before you go.

She goes to the bathroom. Several minutes later, Mrs. B (kindergarten teacher and director of summer camp) leads her out of the bathroom by the hand, talking to her sternly. I found out that instead of changing, she was dancing around in the bathroom. When Mrs. B asked her why she was there, LD said she was looking for her towel. Mrs. B put her in a chair and said, "Sit down. Don't get up until we're ready to go to the pool." At this point, I stepped in to explain the underwear situation to Mrs. B. I stooped down to LD's level and decided to be more specific with my directions.

Me: LD, listen... I want you to go to the bathroom, take off your bathing suit, take off your panties, put your bathing suit back on, and bring your panties out here. Okay?
She nods.
Me: Good. Now tell me what you're going to do?
LD: Sit down.

Good lord. Clearly I need to work on my conversational skills when it comes to 4 and 5 year olds. After a few minutes, Mrs. B and I managed to get her back to the bathroom to change. She walked back out and sat down again.

Me: LD, where did you put your underwear? Did you put it in your bag?
(She has a tendency to lose things... towels, panties, sandals, socks...)
LD: Don't got no bag!
She points to the table where the other bags are stored. I see her clothes in a heap on the table.
Me: Come on, I'll help you fold them. See, you need to put all your clothes together neatly... your shirt, your shorts, your underwear...
LD (looking horrified): No!
Me: What?
LD: Boys wear underwear. Girls wear panties!
Me: Sigh. Okay... panties, then.

I don't know how Pre-K and K teachers deal with this kind of stuff. There must be a special place in heaven for those people. :-)


MsAbcMom said...

This is so funny! I student taught in kinder and had a handful of those little ones in my class. It definitely takes a LOT of patience!

Pigs said...

Nooooo kidding! I must never go below 4th grade. There would certainly be a lawsuit of some sort.

Not Quite Grown Up... said...

I worked for 8 years at a camp for kids going into kindergarten and had many conversations strikingly similar to that one...

The young kids certainly are wacky at times.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Yes, this confirms it. I'm not the type to teach the wee ones. Two of my own wee ones were quite enough.

That was hilarious about panties vs. underwear. I enjoy getting under the skin of my son (he's 21) by telling him he has clean "panties" in the laundry room. "Underwear, Mom, underwear!" he corrects me.