Tag Archives: kids aren’t entirely stupid

First Failures

Mound Elementary had many great qualities and truly did bestow upon me a good, or at least decent enough, education.  During my grade school years my instructors designed an array of purposeful and effective lessons and kept us all more or less in line behaviorally speaking.

That said, there did exist the outlier, the occasional, “Are you serious? We’re actually doing this?  Wait.  School is for education, right?”  Okay, so perhaps as an elementary school student I didn’t have quite the sarcasm I now possess, but nonetheless was left confused and mildly annoyed at the waste of my precious time.

One such instance occurred several weeks into my Kindergarten year.  I liked school so far.  I found it interesting, educational, and purposeful.  Pleased with my schooling experience thus far, I walked into Room 2, took my seat and prepared for another enriching day of enlightenment.

My teacher, in her Sunday School dress and Grandmother sweater walked to each table and dropped off the morning’s work.  It looked like this:

Fresh off the xerox, the purple ink was slightly smeary.  Surely this mysterious paper must be part of some intricate science experiment!  Typically our morning worksheet was simple, straight-forward, and self-explanatory.  But this – oh this was something different, special!  I eagerly sat in my navy blue chair, wearing my sailboat dress with matching bow, awaiting instruction from my teacher, the bearer of all knowledge.

She spoke: “Good morning class!  Today, for your morning work you will need to take out your scissors.  This is a cutting assessment.  Use your scissors and neatly cut each line on the paper.”  She went on to explain not to stop cutting too soon nor cut too far and other obvious things.

“This certainly must be a joke,” I thought silently to myself, “It must, must, must be a joke.”

I waited for Mrs. Finch to let us in on it, tell us she was kidding, to start laughing at what a foolish assignment this was.  None of these things happened.  Instead, every kid in the room began rummaging around their school boxes for what I could only assume to be a pair of scissors.  Sitting there dumbfounded, and mildly offended, I realized I was now the only student doing nothing; everyone else was meticulously cutting away.

Not wanting to appear noncompliant, I obediently removed my blue fiskars from my school box.  I ferociously began to work in what was perhaps the most hasty cutting job Room 2 had ever witnessed.  I haphazardly guided my scissors across each line.  The last started and the first finished, I marched over to the book corner where I read a lovely story with beautiful illustrations in what was clearly a much more effective use of my time. I received what was nearly my lowest mark of the year, only to be rivaled by the time I received an “unsatisfactory” in skipping.

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Dead Fish & Day Care

For the majority of my life, I was fortunate enough to have one parent or the other around frequently enough to avoid all forms of child care. However, Mom conquered the near impossible and earned a college degree while raising three children, therefore some sort of child care was inevitable. Thus second grade was the year of AM Day Care. Now, admittedly, I was at first excited at the prospect of this. Apparently, I thought that this would be cool. Seven year old children are strange; I suppose it had some type of social appeal. I went, I believe, for two days a week in the morning before school.

I suppose it went alright at first.  At least, I think I liked it. I remember eating dry cereal and playing downstairs in the facility. There was a fifth grade girl who befriended me, but I thought she was a bit strange and fat. She wore these clunky black platform shoes with a buckle across her foot that her chubby little ankles hung out over. I thought such a shoe was not only unnecessary, but rather repulsive and decided I did not care for her. I remember riding in the van to school from the Three Bears Day Care and listening to country music on the radio.

You start walking your way, I’ll start walking mine, we’ll meet in the meadow and we’ll both be fine.

Yes. Sing-a-longs occurred. To this day I have no clue what song this is.  I remember that I liked that one the best. I had never really heard country music before.

But then things began to turn less than ideal as things often do. Let’s just say the lovely women of Three Bears were not so wonderful or lovely.  In fact I feel quite certain they maintained a deep rooted loathing of children. In addition to this wonderful attribute, they also vastly underestimated a seven year old child’s observation skills.  Either they were extraordinarily foolish, or I was exceptionally brilliant. In hindsight, I’m going to go with the former.

Their favorite game they taught us was one called, “Dead Fish”. In case the title isn’t sufficient, allow me enlighten you. It worked like this: lay on the floor, and pretend you’re a dead fish.  Still.  Silent. They especially liked to make us play this one if we were being too loud, or getting on their nerves with our basic needs or silly things of that nature. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? (Parents, I hope you’re whipping out some paper so you can take notes for effective child-rearing techniques). I myself didn’t find this so entertaining. To the contrary, I found it rather degrading even though I didn’t know the word for it yet.

Already disenchanted with these women, whom I imagine were middle-aged, overweight, and in general were lacking in the personal hygiene department, I really was not impressed by the manner in which they physically handled children.  Judging by their actions, the best manner in which to handle an upset young person is to pick them up by their arms and toss them into the timeout corner. I guess I missed that day in my behavoir management courses while in college.

Needless to say, with my astute powers of observation, combined with my desire to engage in conversation I disclosed all of this information to my mother. (Good ol’ mom.) A meeting was promptly set up between the faculty and my parents. While I do not recall the verdict of said meeting I do remember that I was swiftly removed from the center. Thus ended my childhood experience in day care.