One of my closest friends and I finally found time to get together last Wed. after months of short emails and phone messages. It was spring break for both of us, and we were able to set aside a few hours to paint pottery at one of those paint-your-own pottery places. (She was an art major... I like the act of playing w/ paints as long as I don't check out her beautiful work too much).
The place was packed and they sat two very cute children at our table, kindergartner and a fourth grader (my age estimates). As they sat them down we had a moment where we could decide to be good people. We're both teachers, and both teach their ages. We could have engaged them in conversation. We could have commented on the book the older one had with her. We could have chatted about spring break, school, their pottery, etc.
But it was our break, our one chance to catch up, and so, we choose to go the other path. And for this I am sorry, our tablemates, but please know that we are around children all the time, and we usually are very, very good with children. We usually have all the patience in the world. You int erupted our 2 sacred hours. I'm very sorry.
It would have been ok, us not talking to them, if we hadn't talked about school. (For our credit we altered our conversation about other, more grown-up issues, so really, we could have scared them for life.) But instead, somehow, we got on the conversation of teachers who appear to hate children. We were on a roll discussing the 'teacher-lounge' talk, comparing the worst things we've ever heard a teacher say about a student, the worst unfair punishment a student has ever had. How did these people get to be teachers? we wondered together, sharing our own thoughts about the imporance of respectful discipline in the classroom, respecting your students and your coworkers.
The little boy, the kindergartner, hung on every word, almost unable to paint his firetruck. Out of the corner of my eye I saw his blond head staring at us, his eyes getting wider and wider. Poor kid. He's probably in his first or second year of elementary school, and had no idea until today that teachers could be mean. He now knows what can be said about kids when they are not around. I feel terrible for giving him this knowledge.
I am sorry little one. Not all teachers are like that. Most are good, loving people who got into teaching for the children. Most adore their jobs. We were talking about the few and far between teachers, the ones who stand out.
Next time we'll have to take our adult conversations to a more adult location, but painting pottery is so fun.