Five Reasons You Should Hug A Preschool Teacher

posted in: Education, Kids, Parenting | 36

Currently, I am doing some part-time substitute teaching in a preschool classroom, which is a fairly new experience for me. Though I was a teacher once upon a time, I worked with high school and middle school students. So we are talking about pretty much the entire opposite end of the spectrum here. I always used to think I didn’t I have the special kind of patience required to be a preschool teacher. Older kids don’t need the same type of refined discipline and meticulously crafted rules as the little guys. I mean, that attention to detail is exhausting.

Yet now that I find myself in a preschool class a few days a week, I will admit I’m kind of loving it. Maybe being a mother has imbibed me with those particular survival skills I didn’t have during my earlier teaching days. Or maybe the fact that I know this is a temporary gig makes it easier for me to be charmed by the preschool life…similar to the way people make the argument that being a grandparent is better than being a parent. You get to eventually give them back to the person who is actually responsible for them: their real preschool teacher.

Aside from getting my fill of adorable faces and stories with no point, I have also come to understand what an exceptional breed of person it takes to willingly spend five days a week being outnumbered by three- and four-year-olds. She is an unsung heroine in many ways, but here are the top five reasons you should hug your child’s preschool teacher without abandon next time you see her:early childhood education, teacher appreciation

#1 Shoelaces (a.k.a. podiatric serpents of evil)

I have calculated that the average preschool teacher spends roughly one-fourth of her day tying shoelaces.Click To Tweet She is constantly saving your children from potential tumbles, head traumas, missing teeth, skinned knees, and split chins all at the expense of her lower back and knees. And have you ever looked closely at a child’s shoes? They are disgusting, given the fact that kids don’t give a crap what they step in…crap included.

#2 Speaking of crap…

Potty accidents. Yes, they still happen in kids who are toilet-trained. And cleaning up after a four-year-old isn’t quite the same as doing so with a one-year-old. I’d venture to say it’s more like what you’d find in a nursing home instead of a nursery. Consequently, I would bet a prerequisite for preschool teachers is a virtually non-existent gag reflex. There’s just no way they could survive otherwise.

#3 Preschool teachers are basically doctors in an Ebola ward

Being in a preschool classroom is like walking into a CDC containment unit without a hazmat suit. Click To Tweet You know it’s full of just about every germ out there, so it’s just a matter of time before at least half of them take up residence in your body. There is always a coughing kid, a snotty kid, a rashy kid, a pukey kid, a fevery kid…you name it, someone’s got it. But like a modern day Florence Nightingale, the preschool teacher returns to the battlefield of early childhood education no matter how horrific the conditions.

#4 Monthly Scholastic Book Orders

I mean sure, we all love books (Hello? Children’s author here. I want you to buy all the books. Especially mine.). But you have to admit you kind of feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day when those flimsy flyers seem to be in your kid’s backpack every time you open it. As a parent, you have the free will to simply throw them in the recycle bin if you aren’t in need of another Oh, David book. But the preschool teacher doesn’t have that luxury. First, she has to separate each flyer from a gigantic book (and do this x5, because there’s never just one type of Scholastic flyer…there’s the pre-Kindergarten flyer, the Early Reader flyer, the For Kids Who Are Three and a Half flyer, the I Look Little But I’m Advanced for My Age flyer…you get the picture). Then she must make sure one (or five) goes in every backpack, collect all orders by the due date, check for online orders, enter the orders, and eventually distribute piles of paperbacks. All this in the hopes that she’ll earn enough to get a few free books for her classroom. And just when she can finally cross that off her to-do list, there is a whole new stack of flyers waiting in her mailbox. So basically, Scholastic is like laundry for teachers.

#5 Every day is like the Tattle-Telling World Championship

For reals. God love preschoolers, but they just don’t understand shades of seriousness.

In their minds, pulling a switchblade and butting in line are pretty much equal offenses and deserving of whistle-blowing.Click To Tweet I can barely stand it when my OWN kids, for whom I would die a death by fire ants, tattle. So when kids not birthed from my loins tattle? Ugh. It’s pretty much akin to that whole death by fire ants, but worse because my sacrifice is for naught. Yet somehow, the preschool teacher can endure this torture day after day, and shake it off as if it were a mere mosquito bite.

Combine these reasons with the pittance we pay our preschool teachers, and it’s a wonder there are so many dedicated and hard-working people choosing this career. Yet they do it for the same reason we parents keep plugging through sleepless nights, temper tantrums, and food battles: they love our children. And that’s pretty amazing…because they don’t have to.

So go on. Give your child’s preschool teacher a hug today, because she’s probably already given a few to your untied-shoe-wearing, poopy smelling, boogery, whining-about-Josh-W-touching-his-crayon kid.

Oh, and don’t forget: Scholastic book orders are due on Friday.


May 2-6, 2016 is Teacher Appreciation Week! Win a copy of Kelly’s children’s book, Absolute Mayhem, for your favorite teacher!

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36 Responses

  1. nursekelly

    Thank you for this – perfect blend of gratitude, a day in the life, and humor. As a former substitute teacher and school nurse, I can honestly say you speak the truth! 🙂

  2. Lindsay

    My daughter’s teachers have my utmost respect and love. I feel overwhelmed with my one kid – and they’re dealing with 15 each and every day! I tip my hat to you.

  3. Anna Lea West

    “… stories with no point” … that one’s a toughy! I can nod and active-listen only so long before I start wondering if I’m on candid camera. I still believe, deep in my bones, I HAVE been on a hidden camera 2-3 times. Airborne aplenty, lady, Airborne aplenty 🙂

    • Kelly Suellentrop

      I bet you have. You would make a great unsuspecting bystander 🙂 You know, I am pretty good and smiling and nodding. It’s kind of one of my talents

  4. StaceyL

    This brings back so many memories for me. I enjoyed the humor you infused into your post. Most likely you have become more patient through parenting however I am sure since you know their is an end in sight makes it more enticing and even tolerable.

  5. jesspolizzotti

    Love this post! I’m on you’re wavelength! A former 8th grade ELA teacher, I’m totally faking it with my little ones and in awe of our preschool teachers!

    • Kelly Suellentrop

      So many people were always baffled about why I would want to work with older students. But I think this post pretty much answers that question. And we have to remember…the kids don’t know we’re faking it 🙂

  6. mindfulmagpie

    Yes, we should hug preschool teachers, but didn’t you just reveal that they’re filthy, full of germs and smell like crap? Seriously, my hat is off to these saints. Enjoy your preschool stint!

  7. Scott

    C might be going to preschool soon. God bless whatever person ends up having to chase him around all day.

  8. Summer

    I help out once a month in each of my kids’ preschool rooms. Their teachers are nothing short of amazing. How they maintain their sanity day after day is beyond me! Great post!

    • Kelly Suellentrop

      I bet I know a few ways they stay sane, but they’d probably rather I not mention them 🙂 (And I only know this because I know how many teacher happy hours I went to back in the day!)

  9. prudencevwhittaker

    I loved this! Especially #2. I just told my husband the other day that our son can clear out a room with that little butt of his. I could write an entire story on his stinky feet and shoes. Thanks for making my day.

  10. albedeklerk

    Good day,I like it,I know it’s hard to work,with children,but it is nice to take care of children,it’s a big is also good work ,nice of you keep up the good work,thank you.

  11. mamalisa4

    as a mother to four children, I have come to appreciate teachers of all ages, especially preschool!!! Love this! So happy to have stumbled upon your blog 🙂

    • Kelly Suellentrop

      Thank you! And absolutely. I kind of feel like I’m the president of the fan club for my kids’ teachers. They’ve had so many good ones, and we have been extremely lucky. It’s a special kind of dedication to do the job well.

  12. Karen @ Mended Musings

    I volunteered in the class when my son was in preschool and now that my daughter is, I avoid it like the plague. From reading your post, I know it’s as bad as I imagined. I’ll go in on her birthday and hope she forgets my negligence when she grows up. I’ve always thought their preschool teachers were saints and now I know!

  13. MsKaty

    As a very overwhelmed preschool teacher and director.. I needed this today!❤️

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