Two little girls had pee accidents this morning. One of them made it to the bathroom, but not quite to the toilet. The other — Cherry — announced loudly at recess, “Mrs. X., I peed my pants!” from the top of the climber. We had just enough time for Miss Slinger to take her to the nurse for a change of clothes before we had to put her on the bus to go home.
Pumpkin’s shoe was untied at morning meeting. This meant he couldn’t stop fussing with it, and despite my warning — “Don’t unlace your shoe again!” — he unlaced it completely. The lace was too frayed to put back in, so while I continued with calendar and the morning message, Miss Slinger relaced his shoe with a new lace. (I’ve got a box with fresh underwear, socks, shoelaces, and some donated hats and mittens. A preschool teacher should always be prepared!)
Miss Slinger, like all non-teacher employees of our district, had to fill out this long form about every aspect of her job and her duties. She told me it was kind of depressing — when she writes it down it looks like her job is a lot of making copies and cutting things out (not to mention restringing laces and taking pee accidents to the nurse). My job has all kinds of things like that in it, but it also entails reading, doing research, writing lesson plans, teaching reading, and so on. Those sorts of things help to balance out the snotty noses and how-to-aim-in-the-toilet lessons and the other less dignified aspects of my job.
There should have been a place on that form for Miss Slinger to write down how often she gives hugs, resolves arguments, teaches art, or helps to maintain a fairly organized classroom. But if it’s hard for a teacher to feel appreciated and valuable, how much harder it must be for an assistant teacher.