Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Now, don't get me wrong. I think I appreciate teachers more than most people, but what I don't really appreciate is being forced (even coerced) into appreciating them.

And I'm the first person to agree that secondary school teachers (especially) are underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. And I can absolutely remember a handful of teachers (in high school, junior high, and elementary) that had a significant impact on my life.

But my kids are 3 years old. Three. And they've only been in this class for a little over a month.

They're always very gracious (with a little prodding, of course). We always say 'good morning'. We say 'thank you' to whomever is watching them when I pick them up each afternoon. We buy birthday presents, Christmas, Valentine's, and even Easter gifts. And we already donated to the parents' pool to buy gifts for the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon (which I'm also volunteering to help set up).

Now, I'm certainly not saying that teachers don't deserve their fair share, but just as mothers get a Mother's Day and fathers get a Father's Day, teachers do get a National Teacher's Day (May 9th), but how this turned into a week-long event replete with wish lists and designated gift days (i.e., Monday is Bring Your Teacher a Fruit Day - Teacher Rhonda likes apples; Tuesday is Bring Your Teacher a Flower Day - Teacher Monica likes sunfowers; etc.), this I just don't fully understand.

Rather than making me more appreciative of the work they do, I'm becoming more and more irritated by the moment. And it's not like they just have ONE teacher to give gifts to either. No, their classes are double-stacked, so they have two teachers. And, of course, the Director and Assistant Director are on the gift list, too, which is also printed in big bold black and white lettering in the monthly newsletter, and, hell, don't you KNOW you don't want to piss either of them off! So now I feel like I'm just being blackmailed at this point. Fearing that my children might be treated just a little less fairly or maybe subconsciously deprived of some tiny extra amount of attention simply because we did the insufferable and brought Dora the Explorer instead of butterfly stickers on Bring Your Teacher Some Stickers Day.

So, backed into a corner, we're frantically and frustratingly trying to incorporate this over-gratuitous event into our routine. Well, I am, anyway. The kids are loving it.

"What are we giving to Teacher Diane today?" [Ugh. My skin starts to crawl!]

Well...let me tell you...

Tomorrow is Bring Your Teacher a Surprise Day, and I've got half a mind to just regift one of the bezillion gajillion sheets of recycled paper (literally, paper the school has used for administrative stuff, flipped over for the kids to write on) with a random jaggedly pre-cut corner of a Reader's Digest page or a single broken macaroni shell glued to the center that they've so conscientiously sent home.

(And yes, of course I love my kids' artwork. But. Come. On! You can soooo tell the days they were just trying to make the time fly by and not really teaching my children anything.)

Anyway...I guess I'm just a little pissy today as we slide into Day 2 of this debacle. Yes, I'm glad my kids have a safe place to play and grow. Yes, I'm grateful they have teachers who at least attempt to say their names correctly (once in a while) and make two mother's day cards instead of just one. And, yes, I'm glad my kids are happy there -- for the most part -- when they aren't bored out of their minds. But, you know what, NO, I just don't appreciate the manipulation. I really do get enough of that from my kids! AND HAVE I MENTIONED THAT THEY'RE ONLY THREE!!!

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