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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Rules are rules

Manda is half of Friday Chick Blogging.

I swear I'm not a strict person, but my teaching career has made me believe that rules are the best. The may be frustrating a times, but they're for the benefit of both kids and teachers.

As the acting director of a child development center, a lot of my day consists of following rules that may seem pointless but were put in place for a reason. Let's go through my long and busy day to see rules in action...

7:30 — I'm at work. By 8 I'm sitting at a table with five kids smushing playdoh into "balls," "fish" and other important things. Soon enough I hear "I finished." and before the kids flee they toss their dough into a pail. "Remember to clean up! Thanks!"

8:45 — Reading Where the Wild Things Are to two year olds (who are dazzled by wild things, but not so interested in Max's long adventure). I'm called to a mobile infant room to look at poop. According to our exclusion policies, kids leave if there's blood in their poop. So, I call the family and send her home. "The baby is constipated!" they say. "Well, that's fine. I just need a doctor's note saying that. It's our rule — I'm not a doctor so I can't tell." Parents agree without argument! Victory for Acting Director!

9 a.m. — I flee to bathroom where I read the newspaper for five minutes.

10 a.m. — Other teachers and I shuffle children around so every classroom is in ratio. That means there's one adult for every four kids under 2.5 years and 1:8 for anyone older. Argh.

11:15 — A child returns after one day out with head lice. I research lice and type a notice to put up so parents can check heads for lice and nits. As I do this I have a 15-minute argument with another administrator about the notice. "You do whatever you want," that person says.

"Well, I follow the rules. That's what I want to do." Jeez.

12:30 — Child sent home earlier returns with note from doctor. Excellent!

1:15 — Lunch delayed as I wait for mover and electrician to stop by. Mover moves filing cabinet so that the "way of egress" from behind the desk is big enough. I can totally fit, I tell him. But I'm speedy and fit. So, we have to follow the rules written for the not-so-fit. Electrician promises to undo what he did last week since the rules weren't clear. He and I learn a whole lot about Certified Safety Outlets.

2:30 — Complete immunization report — giant document of children's names, birthdates, lead test dates and TB test dates. Spend half the time trying to read messy handwriting and faxed health forms. Fax machines suck.

4:30 — Time for me to go. But no. There are wayyyyy too many toddlers and not enough teachers. I play outside with the little 'uns to get us in ratio. Sweet children feed me "pasta, cheese, pears, juice and cookies" — all made from dirt and sticks. Delicious! Only one child eats grass! "Yuck, yuck! Don't eat grass. That's not food. We have to pretend to eat outside."

6:00 — Trying to leave out, I hear it from teachers who want days off, parents who want to know an odd array of things (do you have a container for caterpillars? will my kid get lice? do you have change for $20?).

6:20 — I finally leave! With my bike helmet. It's not a rule for me to wear one, since I'm an adult. But heck, who needs a rule? It's smart just the same.


Anonymous P. Pirx said...

They should be giving out medals for this type of work. I'm not holding my breath, mind you

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