Monday, December 15, 2008

The Sadistic First Grade Teacher

I help in a first grade class room every Monday morning. I am very fond of the teacher, Ms. H. This woman is a wonderful teacher, very warm, organized and just a little sadistic. I am convinced she and her family spend weekends thinking up craft projects. I do not do craft projects. I have no eye hand coordination, no patience, and no skills. When I do a craft project, it looks like a first grader did it. But she is sure I can do them and can help the children.

Last week I worked with paint, washable paint. ( only from your skin, doesn't really come out of clothing even after bleaching. ) I painted their hands blue and they pressed them down on mittens cut from construction paper. That wasn't too bad, until a little girl grabbed my sleeve/arm, blue on white. Still a little blue on the shirt. But I don't wear good clothes to work with first graders. So a minor deal.

Today the project was to show how uncrafty I am. She is sadistic. Stockings of felt. Two red pieces and two white pieces with holes punched along the side;, a long, long piece of white yarn; glue; and glitter. I saw a nervous breakdown coming on. The three adults started the stocking: made sure the red lined up with red and the white lined up with red and white; we taped the end of the yarn to make it firm, we knotted the yarn into the first hole of white felt, and then we gave them to the children. They were to push through the holes up and down and all the way around the stocking, sewing it shut on the side. Some finished in a flash, others sewed sideways or skipped holes or knotted the yarn. After the sewing we wrote their names on the white with glue and they put glitter on the name. And if they wanted they could draw a picture with glue and glitter that.

We worked with them and some got it. Some we took out the yarn and started them over, and then repeated. The motor skills just aren't there yet for some of the children. Two little girls finished quickly and saw their tables mates in trouble. They jumped right in and started fixing the problems. They were much better at this than I am.

And then there was Becky. I took hers apart 6 times. She would sew about three stitches and them start going sideways instead of straight up and down. She started to cry and I felt awful for her. That was me in first grade. I hated art projects. Coloring OK, anything else pure torture. After so many errors I couldn't let her be that upset and feel a failure. So I pulled up a chair and sat with her and we did every stitch together. We still had to take out a couple of stitches and restart. We got it done though. And Becky finished up happy. Her name and the girl she drew in glue were glittered within an inch of Liberace land. Glitter she can do.

Ms. H now has two weeks of Christmas vacation to think of projects for me to do. She is sadistic.


Anonymous said...

Aunt Janet,
Your postings brighten my day... I share with my cube mates - thanks for making us all giggle... And btw - I LOVED those projects - that was my favorite part of teaching!!

kts said...

I bond with the non-crafty gene! My family "jokes" that Nicky's art projects are far more classy than my versions--this is Nicky the child, my versions now not my childhood ones--alas. But while the post made me cringe (in anti-craft bonding) and smile both--what really really made me happy and glad that these kids have you in their lives is your making Becky feel joy rather than misery in the project. Angel wings my friend. For you. Love kts

Joe said...

Becky is ready to be the next software designing genius. "Sideways? Why not?"

Good on you for being there for her.

Janet A said...

I am thinking anonymous is the beautiful Lisa Kay. Your mother got the craft gene, I was behind the door when they passed it out. I am glad you share and all enjoy.