Posted by: Jamie Stamm | December 20, 2008

Bless the preschool teachers of the world

Anthony’s preschool class held its Christmas program on Thursday morning, and before the show even started, I knew that his instructors – two classroom teachers and a director – had put an immense amount of work into it.

“How?” you may ask.

Because my son had been singing “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” nonstop for the past several days. And because he was so excited to go to school Thursday morning that he didn’t even fight me about brushing his teeth.

“What are you going to do today?” I asked him during the car ride there.

His answer cracked me up.

“Sing. Dance. You know, Christmasy stuff.”

As we parents gathered in the church sanctuary,  you could hear the kids – three girls and eight boys between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3 – giggling and squealing in anticipation in the hallway. The teachers led them in, single file … and about a third of the children never even made it to the stage.

Calls of “Mommy!” and “Daddy!” rang out as kids ran to their parents, and the few who did gather at the front of the church looked ready to bolt at any second. But then the director started singing “Jingle Bells,” and bit by bit, the students joined in, shaking bells during the chorus and ending with a rousing, “Hey!”

After that song, my son jumped off stage, turned in his bells and declared, “I’m done,” as his teachers tried to herd him and his classmates back to their positions for “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Those teachers never raised their voices or stopped smiling, even though weeks of practicing and planning probably hadn’t resulted in what they had hoped for. And when song No. 2 was finished, they cheerfully guided the students back to their classrooms for cookie decorating.

As the parent of a – how should I say this? – strong-willed toddler, there are many days when I want to pull my hair out. I get unbelievably frustrated when I work with Anthony over and over again on developing a skill or correcting a behavior, and then he does exactly the opposite of what he’s supposed to do. Yes, he’s only 2 (for a few more days anyway), but I still believe there are certain concepts he should understand and follow.

Yet these women deal with Anthony times five, even times 11 in some cases, and they do it with an ever-present smile, a sing-song voice, a never-fading cheerfulness. Part of me thinks they must go home from work every day and bang their heads against a door or down a bottle of wine or curl up in a corner and cry, but the realistic part knows they are just blessed with some unnatural patience and understanding that I – and most people, I believe – simply do not possess.

So thank you, preschool teachers, for watching my son a few hours each week as I attempt to regain my sanity, for loving and nurturing him whether he’s in a good mood or cranky as hell, for changing endless diapers (I promise I’ll work with him on that whole potty-training thing over Christmas break), for teaching him charming songs about alligators and monkeys … and for putting on the best Christmas program I’ve ever seen.



  1. that was too cute!!!

  2. Let’s be honest – even though they DO have an amazing amount of patience, voices MAY get raised when you arent around and they DO bang their heads against a door or down a bottle of wine or curl up in a corner and cry when they get home!!!!

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