Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lesson of the Day: The Preschool Teacher and the Fashionista

A couple of weeks ago I got a cruel reminder of why a preschool teacher cannot be a fashionista, or as I once heard a "teachionista." Lesson learned: Don't look pretty at preschool!
Now anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to get dressed up! I curl my hair, and apply make-up religiously, even if I am only going to the grocery store. (Hey, you will never know who you will run into, and you know if you look like junk you will see everyone you know, so I make it a point to be prepared.) Anyway, one of the reasons I dress up is because I always feel great when I'm in cute and comfy clothes and look nice, and if there is any place you want to feel great its at work, right? In theory yes, in reality its WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

It was Tuesday, I will never forget that day! It started like the rest. I woke up, showered and made my coffee (first cup of the day). I looked at my lesson plans for the day and didn't see any extremely messy activities scheduled for the day, a rarity in our classroom. So I picked out my new gray cardigan that I got a great deal on and that I just knew the girls at work would compliment on it. I was super excited because 1.) Gray is a great color for me  2.) This was a really cute, really expensive cardigan that I got a great deal on! So I throw it on with a white tank (another no-no) and a pair of jeans and start what I am sure is going to be a glorious day! Once at work, I see the choice of a white tank top was, quite frankly, a stupid one because in taking a drink of my coffee (second cup of the day) it drips on me and and leaves lovely light brown spots on my white top. Thankfully, it missed the cardigan from heaven. So the next few hours progress nicely, until I hear the dreaded words I had hoped not to hear today, "Brandy can we paint at the easel?" Now, in my classroom we try to stick to the philosophy, "Say 'Yes' when you can, and 'No' when you have to." Since my wardrobe probably isn't a suitable reason to refuse, I begrudgingly oblige my students and even decide to have some of them to help me get the paints from the art room (third mistake of the day). In the art room I pass out paints to eager helping hands and grab a couple bottles for myself to carry, when all of a sudden I hear the words, "uh oh!" squeak out of the mouth of one of the sweetest and cutest kids ever, and turn in time to see a jug of blue tempra paint splatter the floor, the wall and my beautiful gray, expensive-but-got-a-great-deal-on cardigan. Son of a nutcracker!!! As a human being my first inclination is to freak out and scream, but the mature, adult, teacher in me reminded me, thankfully, that is was an accident. This little boy, who is now looking up at me with fearful eyes, didn't not wake up that morning with a premeditated plan to drop that paint and ruin my new sweater. So, I bit back the frustration and assured the cutie that it wasn't a big deal, and that accidents happen. I quickly wiped up the mess the best I could, and lead the kids back to our classroom. I tried not to be grumpy, but I couldn't help it. I had blue paint on my sweater, and although it is supposed to be washable, my years of working with tempra paint has taught me that blue and red are the least likely to wash out of clothing!! I spend the rest of the day trying to put on my happy pants and remind myself that things, i.e, clothes, don't matter. People matter! If I had reacted the way instinctively wanted to that day, I would have really hurt that child's feelings and ruined my relationship with him (afterall early education is primarily about student-teacher relationships). Especially this child who is very sensitive. So I guess you could say I learned two lessons that day.

*Oh, in case you're wondering I was able to get the paint off. I went home and immediately sprayed it with stain remover and dumped a ton of Tide on it, took it to the laundromat and did a happy dance when I pulled the cardigan out and it was paint free.

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