Monday, November 23, 2009

Mondays with Ms. Molly - Wedding Edition

Wahoo! I'm so excited to be one of Carrie's guest bloggers and I know you will enjoy some of my crazy stories from the classroom. As Carrie mentioned, I am teaching PreK at an elementary school in Wake County. I thought it might help to know a few things about the program before we get started...

My classroom is a Title I / More at Four PreK within the public school system. The Title I PreK program is federally funded and serves children who are at risk for academic failure and the More at Four part of the program is state funded and means that many of my kids are low income (approximately 3/4 of my class receives free or reduced lunch). So, my class of 16 little ones is very diverse with a large ESL population and most of my kids are new to any school setting. Hope that helps give you a picture!

As many of you know, Mike and I got married a little over two weeks ago. This was the source of much panic and anxiety for me as I feared the worst leaving my little four-year-olds with a substitute teacher. I'm sure I worried more about them than I did about my hair, makeup, dress, etc. Of course, they all handled it beautifully and were still in one piece when I returned. On the flip side, the wedding was also a source of some hilarious one-liners and conversations before and after the big day.

First of all, I never realized how truly confusing this whole concept was to 4 and 5 year olds. They did not understand why it took me so long to get married...I had talked about it for so long and they would say, "Aren't you married yet?" and when I got back they wondered "When will you get married again?", "How long are you going to be married?", etc. I actually found these pretty sweet as I assume they asked these questions because they were worried about me leaving again!

As I mentioned before, many of my kids are English language learners. This can really add to the confusion since not only are these kids 4 and 5 years old and take everything extremely literally, there is also a major language barrier. In the classroom, I have all of the kids bring in a family picture that we have on a shelf. I have one of Mike and I on there as my "Family Picture". This has resulted in many confused faces and "Es your Dad, Ms. Molly?". (Editor's note: I'm already laughing because I can see that Molly is attempting to do their accents when they talk - which she does when she reenacts stories for us on the weekend - which makes this all even more funny. So use your imaginations!) When Mr. Mike came to school one day to visit and meet the class, that was their first comment to him..."You Ms. Molly Dad?". Since they're in pictures with their Dad's, they just assume I am too and I guess now I married mine :)

One day before the wedding, a little girl raised her hand one day during our circle time and asked, "What kinda cake you gonna feed your Beyonce?" Clearly, the term fiance was extremely novel to her...but Beyonce, not so much! When I got back to school, this same little girl looked up at me and asked, "When Mr. Mike put that ring on your finger, did you scream?" (you have to imagine this being said in a very dramatic, drawn out way...did you SCREAM???).

My assistant that attended the wedding was sweet and printed off a few pictures and put them in our "Exploration Station" while I was gone. As soon as I got back they announced, "We see your picture Ms. Molly" and wondered "Why did you kiss Mr. Mike?" and "Why did you feed him cake?". The pictures seemed so silly to them and of course any time a picture came up of me and Mr. Mike smooching, they yelled and screamed "EWWWWWWWWWW!" I told them they didn't need to worry about that until they were big, like me.

Another thing that happened when I got back was that a few of the kids realized I changed my name. See, I've had them call me Ms. Molly the entire year...more personal for the little ones and less confusing since I knew I'd be getting married. Problem is, the kids hear other teachers in the school call me Ms. Keel and now Mrs. Beavers. Most of them ignore it and are ok when I explain to them that some teachers call me that, but kids call me Ms. Molly. Others, however, think it's funny to laugh and point and call me Ms. Keel (like it's in some way embarrassing or funny?) since they know that's not my name in the classroom. A couple of days after I'd been back, I was talking to this little boy who was inquiring about my name change. I simply told him that he could still call me Ms. Molly, but that some teachers might call me Mrs. Beavers now since my name changed when I got married. He looked at me quietly for a few seconds and then announced, "That's silly, I'll just call you Ms. Treehouse". Clearly he felt that changing my name was so arbitrary that why not change it again to something he liked!

Ok, so I'm still figuring this whole blogging thing out, but I hope you have enjoyed a few of the wedding-related anecdotes from the land of PreK. Look out for next week's post when I tell the story of my first administrative observation as a first year teacher. You won't believe what the topic of conversation was as my Principal sat in my room!

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Editor's note: An EXCELLENT first post from Ms. Molly - it already made me laugh out loud several times. Now on a serious note, Molly doesn't know I'm doing this... and she certainly didn't ask me... but I wanted to share a request Mol made to her family and friends. At Molly's school, they more than 120 kids and families who have requested help this holiday season... 12 of which are her own students and their families. It absolutely breaks my heart to think there are kids out here who aren't able to have a traditional Christmas (or Hanukaa or Kawanzaa or whatever) like most of us take for granted. Just as much, I know these parents often feel horrible guilt for not being able to provide gifts for their own children. Chad and I have "taken" children and families through a program in our church in the past - and have actually been able to deliver the presents ourselves - and you would not believe the joy these gifts are met with. We've delivered some gifts to a family full of teenage boys in a very rough neighborhood and they smiled and giggled like little girls when helping us unload their gifts.

That said - EVERY CHILD deserves something to open over the holiday season. And I know Molly - if there are 20 students left on that list, she'll try and find a way to take care of each and every one of them by herself. So if you have been looking for a way to give back this holiday season, or have felt called to contribute - please let me know. Molly said most people spend about $50 per child in order to get them a couple items of clothing and a few toys. I'll get more info for you, if you are interested.

Back to the laugher. Thanks for the post, Ms. Treehouse! We're eagerly awaiting next Monday's addition.

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