Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I’m Not a Teacher, but I Play One on TV

The checker at Staples said to me, "Teacher, right?" Well, no, but I could see why he might be confused. In my cart I had three dry erase boards with the handwriting lines preprinted on them, dry erase markers and an eraser, flashcards and alphabet markers. My Mom and my sister both taught kindergarten, but I knew from a very young age that I did not want to be a teacher—especially of young children. I do not have the patience. I do not feel like I would ever be qualified. I didn't even really like babysitting. And then there is the fact that teaching Sunday school nearly paralyzes me.

David started Kindergarten this year in an ACP classroom (I know—another acronym which stands for Alternate Curriculum Program, formerly known as Special Education). It didn't take me long to realize how far behind he is. He has many skills—he recognizes his shapes and colors, numbers and letters. He can count past twenty if you can understand what he is saying. But, because his language developed so late (or is still developing), he has a great deal of trouble with many skills like answering 'wh' questions. He can tell you that you are holding a pencil, but would have trouble if you ask him what you write with. He has a very short attention span and is absolutely terrible at writing, tracing, drawing and cutting. Did I mention he has a short attention span?

Couple these issues with the fact that they now expect kindergarteners to know how to read by about the second day of school and we are in trouble. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I can do this. I know how to do research and I can learn how to teach David—in my spare time. I will help his teacher get him caught up.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this, right? Right? Hellooooo? Anybody out there?

I just need to rely on my strengths. So, what did I do first? I bought school supplies, one of my very favorite things to do. I am actually quite good at the buying school supplies part. I moved a Little Tykes work table into my kitchen and David and I got to work. Or, more accurately, I got to work and David munched on marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal—his treat for sitting down to work. At this point, I am just pleased if he sits for any length of time and has any type of writing instrument in his hand.

I also try to sneak work into the day at other times. When I know that there is something David really wants to do, I try to make him work for it. We were going to my sister's house for dinner on Sunday and everyone in my house had to sign out. I had written everyone's name on a dry erase board and before we could leave, each person had to copy their name—something David hates to do. We had all made a big production out of signing our names, but when it came to David's turn, he was not at all pleased. I explained that he could not leave until he had signed out, so he grabbed the marker and wrote very deliberately, D……a……D. I had told him he needed to sign out, but I had not told him he had to sign his own name, so he had signed just as Michael had "Dad." I guess I still have some learning to do, too.


  1. This just shows David's intelligence. He knows how to do what he needs to leave the house yet not complete the task you have set out to master. What a great sense of humor....good for David.

  2. You. can. do. this. Good for you for putting in the effort! I am so with you...a teacher is the last profession for me, but here we are. The purchasing of supplies would be my favorite part as well. Sounds like you have great ideas...just need to stay a step ahead of David.

  3. This is exactly where I am. My bird is in Kindergarten and we got a math sheet sent home. 1+1=____ 1+2=____ It was the most painful thing I'd experienced. Who am I kidding, this whole experience is painful, so this was the most painful thing TODAY!
    Our kids sound a lot alike. The bird can read, however, but I don't think she can comprehend any of what she's reading. It's all sight words and memorization. I thought with her crazy memory skills she'd be a whiz at math. I think I thought wrong.
    I never thought I'd be a teacher. We can add this to the list of surprises life has had in store for me!