Monday, August 30, 2010

"Oh yeah! You're my teacher!"

I experienced yet another first today.  Kinley had a momentary lapse where she forgot that I was her teacher.  Seriously.  All I've been thinking about for months now is this whole mommy/teacher thing, and Kinley is able to block it out after just 10 days together.  Unbelievable.

Here's what happened.  After school, Kinley was working on her spelling homework.  In my class, the students have individualized spelling lists that are totally based on what words each individual child needs to work on.  That means that the children can have anywhere from 0-15 words to learn each week depending on their prior knowledge.  Generally, no two students have the same list, and it's a really big deal for the kids to have fewer than 15 words.

Kinley looked up from her homework and said, "Hey, mom!  Guess how many spelling words I have this week!"  I mentally flipped through my stack of student lists and replied, "Uh, nine, right?"  She gave me a how-could-you-possibly-know-that look, and then said, "Oh yeah!  You're my teacher!"  She really had forgotten for a moment.  How does she do that?

I'm constantly reminded of our unique situation.  Last Monday, I was making breakfast when I noticed a letter on the counter that hadn't been there when I went to bed.  Kinley's Aunt Kelsey had emailed a letter of recommendation to Josh since Kinley was applying for a class job.  Josh had printed it out after I went to bed and left it on the counter for Kinley to take to school the next day. 

I decided to sneak a peek.  As I read Kelsey's words, I felt the tears coming yet again.  She described in detail Kinley's best attributes and even managed to make me forget the faults that I so often notice and pick apart in my daughter.  It was Day 5 of school, and the Cry Count was 3.  Not good.

Later that morning, I heard Josh helping her get dressed for school.  "Remember, today is your job interview.  You know Mommy likes your hair best in a bow, so be sure to wear one in your hair."  I do love a good bow, and Kinley didn't disappoint.  During her interview she was poised and pleasant.

I wasn't very worried at first about assigning her a job since I know she is often careless in her work.  I assumed her application would have several mistakes, and therefore it would be easier to eliminate her from the top classroom jobs.  Wrong.  She only had one mistake (a missing comma between the city and state), and she made some compelling arguments about why I should hire her for the jobs she wanted. 

Oh dear.  What now?  If I gave her a good job, everyone would assume it was because she was my child and not because she really nailed the application without my help.  If I intentionally gave her a job that wasn't on her list of three choices, I wasn't being fair to her.  How did I get myself into this?

In the end, she got her third choice - Substitute.  She gets to do the jobs of anyone who is absent.  She was happy, and I got to avoid a confrontation from fellow parents and the guilt of my conscience.  At least for now.

So how can my being her teacher slip her mind when so many of the decisions I've made at school the last 10 days have required me to focus on just that?  Maybe this is one more way all those prayers are working.  Maybe one day soon I'll say to her, "Guess what happened at school today?"  But so far, I doubt it.


Timbra Wiist said...

gina. . .I'm hoping to continue reading these entries and reading all about this lovely little balancing act and ride you are on together. . . this one made me laugh and then almost brought me to tears as I retold it to Mike. . . cry count three. . . prepare for more :)

kelby said...

Gina, you're cute!! I'm excited to follow your blog this year! :)

Lanita Bradley Boyd said...

So far it appears that you are being favorably impressed with Kinley as a student. We don't often get that opportunity. She's obviously doing well, such as having only 9 spelling words. By the way, I glow every time you mention your spelling approach because I loved teaching spelling that way.

Kyle said...

It just shows how simple life is as a child. They don't think about pleasing EVERYONE. I know it's hard when it's your child and balancing between others but try not to think of her as your child. Think of her as you would any other student and make sure she is getting the best education! If she qualifies for the top spot, you have the papers and information to back up your decision. In this case, for example, you could copy everything and have it for the parents to look at during parent/teacher conferences so they can see for themselves. GOOD LUCK!