Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Picked a Bad Day to Stop Sniffing Glue

I cut the fric and frac out of my legs today while shaving with a cheap razor. I hate that. Now I am experiencing the aptly titled condition, razor burn. Lovely.

Today was SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and I was a bad SMART lady. My first child, a first grader, liked the shoe project we did the last two Wednesdays that she wanted to do another one. Thanks to Nike for the farming out of market research to schoolchildren, cleverly disguised as a contest for kids - aka Young Influences on Parents' Pocketbooks - to covertly discover what children really want in a shoe if they could have anything they wanted. Of course, they want to do this the entire time I'm with them. You know, the time where I'm supposed to READ TO THEM.

We have half an hour to read a few books, people, which is not nearly enough time to delve into the inner shoe fantasy world of grade schoolers. The kids wrote things like, "I want the fastest shoes ever!" and decorated the page with foam stickers.

Really? Great, I want fast shoes, too! But there is more.

We read the first story, which she listened pretty well, then she said she wanted to write her own story. I thought this meant in the bigger sense, like, later, but no, she meant she wanted to do it right now. On the one hand, I didn't want to stifle her creativity; on the other we're really pressed for time and I want to do what we're there to do, which is read. A student sitting nearby offered a piece of paper, and I was like, "Well, we're really here to read books, so if you want to write a story I think that's great. You can do that anytime, like during free time in class or even at home tonight!"

Before us sat the second book she had picked to read, and we were running out of time. Her class gets back to their room after the time we're supposed to meet, which cuts into our meager half hour, then we have to walk to the library and I wait while she peruses the bookshelves. We barely have time for one or maybe two books. It's a struggle to get to two.

I said the thing about being here to read, all the while feeling like an idiot. She waited a minute before she said, "I really want to write a story." I repeated the being here to read bit, and exhibited more enthusiasm to get to the next book, hoping I could distract her with a shiny new story. It was not a minute later that she said, "There's a pencil over there" motioning to someone else's pencil atop their folder, the student nowhere in sight, at which time the vein in my forehead popped.

Being fully annoyed with a First Grader, and also completely unsure of what to do makes one feel a bit ridiculous. I couldn't get girlfriend to listen, or to get down with the concept. We read, we only read, we do that thing with the reading, with the exception of when we do that thing with the shoe. But there is no thing with the shoe today, or ever again if the gods smile on us. I'm glad she wanted to write a story, I encouraged her to write when she went home tonight, but holy freaking heck I just wanted to read!

My second child, a second grader, is a talkative one. She's very excited about maybe getting her ears pierced tonight, maybe not, and debated with herself whether or not it will hurt, like, nonstop. I read one book to her while she interrupted only about 600 billion times. The second book, she read to me. She did great, I was so proud of her when she worked through words she didn't know.

After I was done for the day, the SMART coordinator gave me some pictures she had taken the last week of me with the kids. I felt like such a dork for getting mad at stupid things like one of them wanting to write a story and the other interrupting to say things she felt were important. It's supposed to be fun. Sometimes all I can do is follow the rules and it makes me act like such a wet blanket. Rules are there for a reason. I like reading as many books to them as I can, we only have half an hour! And, Type A! Type A! Oh, for Pete's sake...

I saw the first child when she was walking home from school and I was on my way to pick up OC, and she said hi. I was glad she said hello, and I said the same in return and smiled, glad to have seen her. I only hope she didn't notice the contusion on my forehead from the vein explosion.


BoggyWoggy said...

I like SMART. I'm a teacher at a Title I school...and our kids LOVE you! So many students want to wander away from the expectations...and it truly is a balancing act.

You tell an EXCELLENT story that really made me smile!

Loralee Choate said...

Oh, you Type A's are always much too hard on yourselves. You rock the house.

My sympathies on the fric and frac of your legs. I guess the consolation could be that is wasn't your, ehem, girlie bits. That would be much, MUCH worse!!!

Wendy said...

Just reading about your legs makes mine hurt!

Back in my volunteer days, I did the Art Lit program for E's class, and it was so hard to keep the kids on task. They wanted to tell me every single thing that was going on at all times. It drove me nuts, yet at the same time, I loved that they wanted to confide in me.

jade said...

Oh oh oh pick me! pick me!

I used to SMART. Then I began volunteering with a group of needle workers who went to a local elemtentary school every week to teach knitting and crocheting. It was a thinly veiled mentoring program, matching adults and kids one-to-one and a thinly veiled program to create a new army of needlework lovers. The amazing thing was what the kids did every week. They talked. And talked. And talked! It was so obvious they really needed the exclusive attention of an adult sometimes, having to share teachers with classmates and parents with siblings. I loved hearing the kids yak about every thought in their head and they learned to ask us questions eventually, thereby learning the art of conversation.
I've wondering for awhile if this program would be a good one for Redmond. Certainly it's good for us volunteers who like a more casual atmosphere.
Wanna join me?