Well, I really was excited for the job. I had a lot of faith in myself and I knew that I wanted to do such big things there. So I got hired on at the end of April, but I wasn't going to start until June. So in the meantime, they told me I'd be a sub for the other classes for the month of May if anyone needed a sub. I ended up subbing in the babies room once for about four and a half hours, and then another time in the school-age room for about four hours. They both went okay, but I really felt out of the loop on how everything went, and I was realizing that a lot of the workers there are really.. just friends and nice to the other workers. I was a little disappointed that I never got to sub in the Pre-K class, because I still had no idea how it went in there. I asked the managers so many times if I could go in there and watch how a day went, and they wouldn't let me (first red flag). I kept asking them for their daily routine and their topics, and it took me about two weeks to get them.. Which I didn't think should have been that hard, but what do I know. No, it wasn't that hard, actually, I watched them take two schedules off the wall (after two weeks of asking for it) and make a copy. I'm a little bitter on that subject, since I was trying to plan lessons ahead of time. Anyways, I finally called the teacher that was quitting and asked her a few questions, and she really eased my mind about it. I was so excited to start! I had a week planned in detail, and the rest of the month I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do.
I come in the first day, and the kids were awful. I couldn't get their attention for the life of me, and I was trying to keep to the routine that they'd been following all year so they would just kinda know where to go, but no. That did not happen. I tried having circle time with only 3 kids there because they were the only ones listening, but then they would start playing with the toys that were surrounding them (bad arrangement on the facilities part!). I ended up bawling my eyes out about an hour in.. And I mean bawling. I was kinda keeping it together for a while when I gave up on trying to teach, until the head lady walked in and asked how it was going.. That's when I lost it, went up to her and told her that I'd never felt more out of control in my life, and had to leave the room for about 20 minutes, in which time I called Cody and told him I was in the wrong job and I just couldn't do it. Of course he was so supportive and told me that I could do it and a lot more sweet things. By the time I went back into the class, the head lady had been talking to the kids about listening and told them to be nicer and listen and yada yada.
So I thought it'd get better after that. Wrong. These children have serious listening issues. We went outside for a little bit, and a few of the kids were pulling their pants down and mooning each other! Oh my gosh, never did I think I'd have to deal with this at preschool!! I got a hold of that situation, we went back inside, and I kinda glided through the first part of the day. I figured that by the time nap time rolled around, I'd be able to relax for two hours until they woke up and I'd only have to do a few things before my shift was over. But oh my goodness, nap time was ridiculous! There was maybe two out of the ten children that actually slept. The rest were being so loud, goofing off, talking to each other, and doing anything but napping or laying there quietly so the rest could sleep. It was a constant battle telling one child after another to close their eyes and be quiet, for THE ENTIRE TWO HOURS! And my goodness, was I excited to go home at the end of the day.
That night, I was stressing out so badly trying to figure out what to do the next day to make it go more smoothly, and I just really didn't want to go back. I went in the next morning, and had three kids come in and tell me how sorry they were for their bad behavior and that they'd be much better today. Another kid actually wrote me a note saying sorry, and it was adorable. It made me feel so much better! So we started the next day, and it was like Groundhog's Day.. The exact same thing, all over again. No matter what I did, no matter how many different strategies I tried using, they just would NOT listen and they were being really rude to each other and me. I was given my employee paperwork (which, by the way, they had no information on me, and this would be the fourth day, counting the subbing days, that I'd worked for them. They didn't even have my drivers license! I could have been a serial killer and they wouldn't have known.) There was an employee handbook thing they wanted me to take home and read, so I didn't worry about that until I got home. Then, the same thing happened at nap time, a constant struggle. Then after nap time, we all went outside for a recess, and one of the kids elbowed another kid in the nose while they were "play fighting", and the kid got a major bloody nose. This was 10 minutes before I could leave. So I sat there with this kid trying to clean him up and help him with his nose. I barely had time to figure out what happened, because in order to go inside with the hurt child, I had to get another adult outside. So I talked to the hurt one, kinda got the story, and then left. Again, I was stressing out so badly that night that I just didn't know what I was going to do. I went through a lot of my books and binders and notes on how to deal with these types of situations, I planned a ton more things to do, and I felt ready to go. Cody and I went over the employee handbook, and it was totally bogus. There were so many of their "rules" that I had seen broken over and over by everyone else that worked there, and I mean tons of rules, that I didn't feel comfortable signing if they were going to be super strict on the rules.. So I planned to go in the next morning and talk to the manager and let her know that I wasn't feeling too hot about the job, how I really wanted an assistant or at least another teacher in there with me, ask about the rules, and a few other things..
Day three: I'm in my classroom getting a few things ready before anyone's in there, and a mother comes into my classroom (the mother of the kid that got hurt) and starts getting so mad at me. She goes off saying that I told her son that he got in a fight, and that I shouldn't have encouraged fighting because they were probably just playing and had an accident, and asked me what I should have said to him instead of saying that they "fought". Talk about ambush!! I never once told him he got in a fight, and even if I did.. They were freaking fighting! I shouldn't get in trouble for calling a rock a rock if that's what it is! Goodness. So I told her that I never said that, told her the situation about how I took her son right inside and didn't get to talk to anyone else, and then I went home so it was possible that another teacher may have said that to him. She was pissed and stormed off, and there went my happy day. I talked to the manager and told her how I was feeling, talked about the rules, told her I didn't think I could be the only teacher in there (to which she responded saying they wouldn't hire another person to be in there) and she was so understanding, but couldn't help me with the last one. She told me to see how the rest of the week went and that we'd talk about it on Friday, but of course I was crying during this conversation. I just can't have a conversation without crying when the subject matter is anything but happy. Some of the kids came in again to apologize for their bad behavior yesterday, and I just kinda shook off the rough morning, and had a good feeling about the rest of the day. Well, it was awful. The girl that worked in the kitchen came and helped me during the morning, and it went a little better than the two prior days, but the kids were still really badly behaved, and nap time, even with her, the big intimidating teacher, went awfully. She basically told me that I needed to just keep telling the kids to be quiet, and get mad at them, and all sorts of stuff that I really didn't like. If the kids don't want to nap, why are we forcing them all to? It's causing more trouble than there needed to be. Oh, and the kids asked about a million times to go to the bathroom, saying "My pee's coming out! I need to go really super bad!" So I'd let one at a time go, and as soon as they left the room, they'd start playing in the big kid class and goofing off.. So I took away most kid's potty breaks, except a few that I knew were prone to accidents. Well, even with letting one kid go when she said she had to, she peed her pants. Normally, the kids have extra clothes. Well, she didn't. So she went to the office and they gave her THEE shortest dress. It was basically covering her butt, unless she moved in any way, in which it would show everything. Oh, and they didn't give her underwear. A FOUR YEAR OLD WITHOUT UNDERWEAR?! IN CLASS? Yeah, you can imagine how the next hour went. "Look, I'm not wearing underwear!" As she's flashing everyone. I thought I could tell her not to and explain why we don't do that and have it be taken care of, but no. She did it twice more, so I took her to the office and they gave her some boy underwear. Why didn't they do that in the first place?! Another kid woke up in the middle of his nap (one of the only kids that actually slept) and ran out the door and straight to the bathroom,, but before he opened the door, he threw his pants off so everyone could see his little bum... haha, that actually made me smile. He came back in, and when nap time was over, I had the kids start coloring and reading to slowly wake up the rest that were sleeping, and ANOTHER KID PEES HIS PANTS! Except, I'm not exactly sure what happened, because he peed on the ground, while standing up. I don't know if he pulled his pants down cause he couldn't make it to the bathroom?
Yeah, three peed pants in one day. That was fun. I went home just so relieved to be out of there, and not really looking forward to having to go back to teach for two more days (because at this point, I was planning on having Friday be my last day). But I was willing to follow through with my plans, and went to bed without planning another thing for the next day (because I already had a good lesson plan ready). I woke up before my alarm the next morning, and went straight to the bathroom. For the next two hours, I was either in the bathroom or in my bed, feeling like death. I couldn't stand up without almost puking or something else, so I called in and told them that I'd try to be in there by 8:30 so I wouldn't miss much. Well, it didn't get better, and I felt bad because I knew I wouldn't be able to come in. So I wrote my lesson plan in SUPER DUPER detail so that whoever they got to sub wouldn't be left high and dry, and called them back telling them I couldn't come back in. She was pissed and told me to tell her what the doctor said, and that she'd try and find a sub. Yeah, like I was going to the doctors office... So I had Cody go in and give them my lesson plan, along with a letter informing them that I was so grateful of them being so understanding about my working there and the problems that I'd been having, but that I was planning on Friday being my last day there.
I wanted to quit because it was worse than any job I've ever had (even the call center!) but I also didn't want to quit because it seemed like I was giving up because it was hard. But honestly, it was causing me so much stress that I was physically getting sick, so I just had to get out of that situation. Plus, I didn't agree with their situation, rules, or how they went about things. I didn't like that it was more of a daycare than a preschool, I didn't like that they forced the children to have naps when they wouldn't do it, I didn't like how rude the other teachers were to me, etc.
I got a call a few hours later saying they had found a sub for Friday and that I didn't need to worry about coming back in, ever. It felt good to hear that, because I really didn't want to go back on Friday, although I was so willing! I again expressed how sorry I was that it didn't work out, and she was super kind, so I was happy to have a clean ending.
I think a major part in the children's misbehavior is that some of them have been going to this facility since they were 6 weeks old, so they felt like they owned the place. Plus, some of the kids are there from 7 in the morning to 6 at night. Kids that age just can't be in that type of a situation for that long without having problems.
...To Be Continued
Way to go if you made it through this post. It was incredibly long, and I applaud you. And thanks for being sensitive to my situation, as these are very sensitive and personal stories.