Filling in at the Preschool

59186_1594999721449_1429631148_31581544_4075641_nWell, poetry month is over but I’m still smitten with this form, of course. How’s that for a sentence with too many words? I can’t resist fitting words into a poetry format and sharing them with you. Instead of a rambling essay today, I’ve read some Faith Shearin for inspiration and written this. Since February or so I’ve been working at the preschool at my children’s school every Tuesday. I’ve grown to look forward to those three hours, to see how different the  preschoolers are every week, who’s wearing Frozen clothes and what’s for snack. The weirdest part though, is the fact that I thought I’d never work in a preschool again. This is all very weird to me. Here’s why:


Never Say Never

I vowed to never be a preschool teacher again

during the summer those three-year-old kids wore me down

within week one at what was clearly their school, not mine.


The dislike of that job and those preschoolers

propelled me across the country, a move

that saw me falling into the arms of a man now my husband.


I never pictured children yet then I did, finding

my kids at age 3, 4, and 5 to be years that left me

wondering who was in charge, me or the little tyrants?


I saw those moms of older kids substitute teaching at preschool

oh goodness, I thought, I’ll never do that. No money there

and preschoolers, good God, isn’t having had your own enough?


Yet I’m bad at saying no. I find myself a mom of a tween

and a teen, sitting in a tiny plastic chair

cutting out construction paper hearts with short people


and loving it. Three hours once a week

inside the brains of kids who exclaim over the number

1,000 and shriek and cry when they don’t get their way.


I think, how fabulous to know yourself so well, to tell us

Something’s Wrong! so loudly and with such force.

When I do that I’m deemed crazy, a child, the one


who needs help. God, I love helping you

the child in the better choices chair

the one who misses his dad or woke


up on the wrong side of the bed. You are easier than

my preschoolers were, no red string tying you to me.

I’m Mrs. Alton and you play rhyming games with my name while


asking me to cut out more paper hearts

then I glue them together, hand them out like

the diamonds they are, reveling at my change of course.

-Nancy Schatz Alton

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