I was the worst student…well in Preschool at least. My experience was so awfully traumatizing that I have total recollection of the entire incident. And, although traumatic in itself, I’m not just referring to the day that I took my classmate on a treasure hunt throughout the school to help hm find his arm after our teacher explained to me that he had lost it. No I’m talking about the average daily rigamarole, I just didn’t understand the concepts.
I picture myself now, the teachers talking and my sponge of a brain was soaking up nothing, like there there loomed a protectivea glaze over my eyes. I was a late bloomer in any sort of cognitive thought perhaps. The Pledge of Allegiance in my head was a fascinating fable about witches. As soon as the words “for which it stands” left my lips my brain would be picturing a warty green skinned shrew giggling over a bubbling cauldron and peeking out at me under the brim of her tall black coned hat. And by the end of that illustration it was done and my teacher would promptly mark my report card: Pledge of Allegiance- frowny face. And that’s how most of the lessons would go.
Don’t blame my teacher, because I actually went to two schools thanks to my parents’ and grandparents’ work schedules. I went to Kent Academy in the morning and Sugar Creek Baptist in the afternoon or maybe the other way around. Surely two teachers per class, equalling four teachers who tried with all their might to work with me could not have been completely off.
I remember anxiety growing in me as my father, a dyslexic himself, read me bedtime stories such as Encyclopedia Brown, or if I was feeling extra maniachal that night, Fox in Socks. I would watch the letters on the page, like how some would perceive mandarin or heiroglyphics, overcome with an overwhelming anxiety and internal pressure. How could I ever understand the complexity of all those letters? The pressure was strong in school and I struggled, falling behind.
My daughter sadly has taken after me. Sometimes it’s great that I have that connection to her, because I am less frustrated with her over her struggles. Sometimes it plays against her I’m sure, because there are just topics I specifically been trying to avoid. I ask lil A, “what color is this crayon?” And at the age of 3 and a half she exuberantly responds “cula'”, despite our two years of reviewing colors on nearly a weekly basis. I understand, as I remember the frowny face on my own rubric at her age, and I remember the anxiety from the pressure to catch up with my classmates.
On top of all of this, I taught junior high and am not a preschool teacher. Preschool teachers are a special kind of teacher, and to me are faced with the greatest challenge. They have completely blank slates that they have to somehow build. They have to take these dry sponges and moisten them for their entire future, and their entire success of forever depends on it! I chose to teach junior high, mostly for the challenge, but also because it was an age where the foundation was implemented and it was my job to polish the rusty points. Preschool terrifies me, teaching my daughter preschool terrifies me. There are many reasons that I don’t want to get into politically, socially, and physically that I am not only choosing, but having to homeschoool. It’s the most sensible solution for our specific niche of issues.
I have had so much anxiety going into this fall. I feel so much rides on her time with me. I want to cry when kids a year younger than her can count to 15, or make it to the restroom every time. I try to avoid those conversations with mom friends, because I feel like a failure, not only as a teacher but as a mother. The response of other mother’s doesn’t help, “once she’s in a real program she will do better.” They aren’t at home with us day in and day out since she was 18 mos. old. Honestly she was naming colors at 2, and then we moved, her sister was born, I returned to work, and I hired a nanny. I created rigorous lesson plans for my nanny everyday, but there were signs that they weren’t being seen through the way the I requested. And so here I am again, feeling as if I’m starting at square one.
I tried to put off homeschooling until September, but for the sake of sanity the girls need the structure and so do I. So our little three week vacation turned into three days. So instead I’ve decided to do two warm up weeks of just artsy fun weeks, with a little bit of education thrown in between. Yesterday, one of the activities involved cutting, and my gut quenched at the thought. Cutting was the most traumatizing of concepts for me to master. It was not only frustrating and difficult to do, but it was also painful. My hand hurt to hold the scissors properly, and I remember my teacher at Kent Academy forcing my hand to do it. She was frustrated, I was frustrated, and it led to an unpleasantly painful result. Yet another frowny face on my report card.
When I handed Lil’ A the scissors she held them perfectly at first try, that was such a relief, and then she began cutting. Of course her snips were everywhere, and she struggled to follow the lines, but it was not as gut wrenching of a scene as I expected. I was one proud mama I must admit. When it was time to review the colors she named them all but two after our first review, and my confidence soared. Perhaps this is a sign that this won’t be so traumatizing after all? Perhaps for now she just needs to some stability and structure to remember her footing.
brought the you by the word of the day: learning