As a parent with children in elementary school, you probably often wonder, “how is my child doing?” Report cards only come out three times a year and the 15 minute interview that follows never seems long enough. You probably communicate regularly with your child’s teacher through his/her agenda, email or short chats when you happen to be in the school. But still.
Well, let me help you out! As an elementary school teacher, I have compiled a list of Five Things Teachers Wish Your Young Child Knew How to Do. If every child had these skills, my workday would run a lot more smoothly and I’d have that much more time to spend on quality individual instruction with each of the little minds entrusted to me.
Now, before I begin this list, let me put it out there that I know it’s highly unreasonable to expect young children to be able to do these things. I do. It’s just that – somehow – we do expect them to be able to do them. Otherwise we wouldn’t give them the stuff. And when they don’t or can’t, it falls to the teacher to do it for them.
So, with that caveat in place, here is the list (which also, incidentally, helps explain my torn nails and cuticles, sticky, dirty fingers and clothes, and my hunched back. I’m just sayin’.)
Five Things Teachers Wish Your Young Child Knew How to Do
5. Sharpen pencils.
Okay. Most kids can sharpen pencils, but a lot can’t. And a lot of pencil leads snap off in pencil sharpeners (the fancy-lookin’ pencils with your kid’s name on them? Guaranteed to break). And a lot of kids are finicky about having sharp pencils (grownups too, I suspect). And a lot of teachers have RSIs from repeatedly swiveling those little writing implements round and round for their dedicated learners.
4. Take the lid off a glue stick.
This, in my humble opinion, is a setup. Even most adults have a hard time wrenching those sticky lids off those sticky sticks. But then, the alternatives are no better. I’m sure you remember your elementary school teacher slitting the mucilage applicators with scissors every time you had to use them. And white glue…I’m not even going to go there. Still – your pencil-sharpening RSIs get re-injured when a line of 24 six year-olds queues up at your desk saying, “I can’t get the top off my glue stick!”
3. Use a juicebox.
Okay, granted: most times, kids aren’t consuming juice in class, and most teachers aren’t supervising lunch. But for anyone who’s ever supervised kids eating on a field trip, or at recess, etc. let me just say that kids and juiceboxes are always a recipe for a mess. Makes you wonder what genius thought that this particular design would be good for children and their relative lack of fine motor control. If you squeeze them, they squirt sticky juice everywhere. Hello, people!
Oh, sigh. This one is the bane of my existence. Because I came to my school in mid-November, all my classroom supplies had already been ordered. Including a duotang for every one of my nearly 200 French students. Even after teaching (and re-teaching) them how to put their papers in these sneaky little books, most grade one and two students simply can’t figure it out, and end up with papers backwards, upside-down, and wrong-way round, if they’re even fastened in at all. And because I’m a little, shall we say,
anal finicky about these things, I have worn my fingers down to bloody stumps on more than one occasion fixing them all.
1. Blow his/her own nose.
Oh, this one is lovely, and needs no further explanation. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Now you know why most classrooms have sinks and a copious supply of hand sanitizer.