Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kindergarten

I work for my college teaching preschoolers to swim so when the summer is over the vast majority of my business goes off to kindergarten and I never see them again. This is beginning to happen already and will be finished by the end of next week. I want to be done with my summer job so I can go home and see my family, but I absolutely do not want to see my little kids go. They are fabulous. I get a deep sad feeling when I think about the fact that they are leaving forever, but I also get a stranger and subtler fear that is harder to accept. I remember this fear from last year. I remember being worried that when the school year started and the preschool gave me new children to work with I wouldn't like them. I remember being worried that they wouldn't be able to swim by themselves, I couldn't teach them flipturns, and their streamlines would all be rubbish. This hasn't happened yet. Every time I've gotten a new batch of kids I've dutifully taught them all the strokes and by the end they leave with a mutual respect we all enjoy. It's a strange problem to intellectually know that and still be afraid that the next group will not be as kind and eager as the ones I have now.

I think it's mostly cognitive dissonance. It's at least partly the fact that I've put sixty-five hours into each one of these children and I know that if I put that much time into another group they'll be as good, but I can't imagine possibly having sixty-five more hours to give. I look at my fall schedule and don't see how I'll care this much during the year, but I know I will because I have before. This problem must be multiplied many times if you are a school teacher. Instead of sixty-five hours of effort you have put in about six thousand. I think I would be a good elementary school teacher, but I have no idea how I would deal with that. There are a lot of people I've been attached to in my life and left, but there is no one that I've taken care of for six thousand hours. I'm sorry for anyone who has to lose a person they love because I can barely send some little kids off to kindergarten.

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