My daughter is getting ready for her first day of preschool. Until now she's been in a lovely in-home daycare with all of her best friends (whose mothers I am good friends with as well). She's been there since she was three months old and I always knew she was in phenomenal hands. My daycare provider spent so much time helping us transition her back when she was just a peanut that I barely had a worry when I dropped her off that first day.
|She thinks she's ready for college
In my mind all of the other preschoolers are straight from Mean Girls and the teachers are different versions of the Trunchbull. And I know this is ridiculous because I work with kids and I know they are all wonderful and I know how caring and sweet early childhood teachers are. Still.
For four years I've been able to say I was a parent, and even said things like, "As a parent I know how you feel" to the parents of students I teach. That was a lie I didn't even know I was telling. I thought I understood, but I had no idea.
Every year I've been a part of helping separate the kindergartners from their parents, take them down the hallway and find their classroom. I've been a part of trying to get the parents to leave the school quickly, telling the parent (without realizing how condescending it sounds) "It's harder for you than it is for her." Maybe it is, but that comment doesn't make it any easier on the parent or the child.
What I didn't understand was that I was walking that parent's heart down the hallway, away from them and their strong instinct to protect their child from danger. I didn't understand that in the parents mind I was taking their baby and throwing her down the hall to the wolves.
I didn't know that the parent just wanted to know that their child was going to be ridiculously loved, challenged, encouraged, and kept safe. As I worry about whether or not my daughter is going to get all four of these elements from her teacher I've got a new appreciation for the parents who will be entering my own school next week with their precious cargo in tow. I hope I can convey the same amount of love and trust to their parents that I want for my child's own school experience.