Nowadays, I'm teaching preschool as well as elementary school. This is, to say the least, a unique experience. Today I woke up with a raging headache and pounding sinuses, but headed into school anyway. My first class was with the first primary class, the three year olds. I walked in and they were screaming, sobbing, and clinging to moms. It might be worth noting that my lesson starts fifteen minutes after school actually starts, so this had been going on for fifteen minutes already. We managed to shoo the (not helping the situation by staying around and telling their kids they love them and that they are the best little children in the world) mothers out of the classroom. Then we spent ten minutes trying to get their smocks on them and get them into their seats while they wandered around the classroom, still screaming at the tops of their lungs. Finally things got mostly settled, with the exception of four or five who lay limp on the floor, sobbing "Mama... Mama."
The word limp is an important one, because if you pick them up and try to put them on their feet, they simply slump to the floor. Likewise, if you try to put them into a chair, they melt out of it and wind up half under the table, arm thrown dramatically across their eyes, and continue to weep.
Eventually all but one boy, who would spend the entire forty-five minute class period laying on his face on the ground in the corner hicupping and crying, settled down enough to make a circle and learn the words boy, girl, and teacher. We then repeated this process in the next class with the other group of three-year olds, though they were more settled down.
They also act, well, like three year olds. It's stressful. I don't know what to do with a pantsless child who is crying that their belly hurts, especially when I can't speak their language to them. I don't react well to being sneezed on or having a child wipe his nose with my skirt. God bless the teachers who do spend all day, every day with this age. They are better people than I.
After lunch I had class with the four year olds and then with the five year olds. One of the four year olds vomited, and of course it got on me. Of course.
Tomorrow, though, I don't go below third grade. Tomorrow will be cool.