The teacher, 1924

Photo by CGoulao

I picked up Josh from preschool this week and his teacher pulled me aside. She had a look in her eye that said there was an incident that she needed to explain to me. As a parent, your mind suddenly runs wild, speculating on what calamity may have occurred. I knew he hadn’t been seriously hurt because he was standing in front of me and looked fine – I didn’t see blood and all of his limbs seemed to still be attached – but I wondered about what damage he may have done. Did he maim another child? Throw the globe out the window? The possibilities are endless. I reined in my thoughts and listened to what she had to tell me.

It seems they’d been practicing how to stand in line without pushing each other and, apparently to make the lesson a bit more realistic, my son was used as an example by the teacher as the person to be ‘gently’ pushed. And he freaked out a little – scared, surprised or maybe embarrassed by that happening in front of the other kids. I think she told me about it, which I appreciated, primarily so that we didn’t later hear a story at home that teacher pushed him down in front of the class. That would have concerned me.

But I have to say, he comes by it honestly. It instantly reminded me of a time when I was in first grade. I was, no doubt, dilligently studying my words, minding my own business in the back row of our classroom. An over excited teacher from across the hall (who I already didn’t like) came into our room one day.  For whatever reason, she made the mistake of sneaking up behind me with a pair of scissors and jokingly proclaiming that she was going to scalp me. That’s how I remember it. And let me tell you, I completely freaked. 29 years later, all I remember is a blur of arms and fists as I leaped out of my chair and started wailing on her. I guess I could have handled that a bit better myself, but I was 6 and even if my memory is a bit off, it was still a bad decision on her part. That was one of the only times I remember getting held after school to have my mother come and talk to the teacher.

After my debrief with his teacher, Josh and I took a special trip to the car wash together after school that day and talked about his incident on the park bench while we watched them scrub down my car. I shared with him a slightly watered down version of the little mishap with my teacher. Josh didn’t seem overly traumatized by his run in and seemed to appreciate my trip down memory lane. Then we found a nifty green seed pod on the ground, dug a shallow hole in the dirt, planted it and made a solemn pact to return together in a few years and see if it grew into a tree. We capped it off by running from the big shark that was painted in the car wash hallway and then putting a dollar in the tip box while we waited for them to finish drying the car. It’s nice how doing the simple things together can help make everything better for the little guys. Being there to hug them and pick them back up when they fall or get confused. Because there’s no telling when some well-meaning adult might knock them down or attack them with scissors.

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