Homeschool co-op today. I teach an art class. Today we used black paint. Black paint! I was nervous and jumpy the entire time: eleven children all painting with black paint! I was picturing having to mollify the angry parents of paint-covered children. Fortunately the kids resisted the urge to paint the child next to them with the black paint. I was so proud.
I’m a little bemused by my status as Teacher to these kids. When I arrive at co-op, the students will catch sight of me and holler across the room, “Hello, Ms. Lizard!” and wave and grin. If they’re close to me sometimes they’ll lean against me or give me hugs, or launch into long involved stories about their favorite toys.
Since these kids are homeschooled, I’m one of the very few official teachers they’ll ever have. And I’m realizing from the way they seem to adore me that I’m like everyone’s kindergartner teacher. They say that you never forget your kindergartner teacher. I’m not sure that’s true, because I don’t remember mine, but that’s what they say. Most people must remember their kindergartner teachers because they’re sweet and kind and kindergarten is when you do the fun stuff. Being the art teacher means I’m like the fun kindergartner teacher. It’s a sweet deal, but also a big responsibility. I don’t want to let them down.
The kids just want you to be approving and kind and to laugh at their jokes and listen to their stories and Be Nice. And that never really goes away.
When I worked, I was a corporate trainer at a health insurance company. One group of people arrived in my training room, quiet and stony-faced. Slowly, as the week of training progressed, they loosened up. By the last day, they admitted to me that they’d been scared of the training. They knew they were pretty bad at learning the stuff I would teach. They were right about that; they were the most difficult group of people I’ve ever taught! They Just Didn’t Get It. And they were afraid I would yell at them. They said, “We were scared of you and thought you would be mean to us. But you were nice! Thank you for being nice to us.”
It seemed sad that they thought they would be yelled at for not understanding what they were being taught.
I should track those people down and teach them some art sometime.
Played Bunco with friends this evening. It was at Wendy’s house so you know the food was good. Oh, the food was good. One woman kept trying to get us to stop eating the pasta salad because she’d been promised the leftovers. We sneaked bites when she wasn’t watching.
I’m not sure how to describe Bunco, but it has something to do with moving everyone around to different seats and doing your best to get the comfy seat at each table. Then there was something else about not forgetting to keep score, which was tricky. Who can remember to keep score in the middle of a rousing game of Bunco? And if you get Bunco, then you have to kiss a fuzzy dice and put it down your shirt. I never really understood that part.
Wendy was queen of the day, as she won all of the Bunco categories. Floating on a giddy high of victory, she insisted that I include her scorecard on The Blog. So, here it is in all its glory: