I’m sorry your child wet themselves today because they were so busy playing and didn’t make it to the toilet on time. I’m sorry I didn’t realise they had their own spare pants in their bag. I’m sorry I put them in pants from the ‘spare uniform’ box.
I’m sorry your child fell off the climbing frame today and bumped his head. I was standing right there. He was so excited to show me how he could swing upside down from the monkey bars. I’m sorry I turned round to answer the child who had just wet himself. I’m sorry I wasn’t quick enough to catch him.
I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to read with your child yet this week. Another child had fallen off the climbing frame and came in with a head injury. As important as your child’s reading is, head injuries will always take precedent over reading. I promise to try and read with her tomorrow.
I’m sorry your child came home with paint all over her shirt. I told her she needed an apron on and they are hanging up right next to the painting area. I was reading with another child so I didn’t have my eyes on the painting area the entire time. I’m sorry I didn’t see until her shirt was covered in paint.
I’m sorry that another child pushed your child over today. I was busy trying to clean paint off another child’s shirt and I had my back to your child. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop the pushing and that all I can offer is that the other child had ‘time out’.
I’m sorry that your child has sand in his hair. I was busy explaining to another child why we don’t push each other and talking her through the rules of time out. I couldn’t see the sand tray from where we were talking.
I’m sorry that your child cannot, with the best will in the world, be the only child in my care. I know how you feel. I want my child to be looked out for in school too. I don’t want him pushed over. I don’t want him to fall off the climbing frame. I want him to read with his teacher every week.
But, maybe because I understand the demands of the classroom, I know that this might not always be the case. Because I know this:
I am teaching your child to be independent.
That means letting him climb to his heart’s content on the climbing frame whilst sharing in his successes and making sure he doesn’t push himself beyond his limits. But sometimes accidents happen.
It means that sometimes she will have paint all over her. She is learning to take responsibility for things like putting an apron on. But more importantly, it means that she has been learning to express herself creatively.
It means that sometimes other children might push him over. Your child might understand socially appropriate behaviour. Others don’t. It is my job to help teach them. Without these situations, some children will never learn. They will become adolescents who push then adults who push. Sometimes they need a reason to have ‘time out’. To reflect on their behaviour.
It means that sometimes your child might be wearing spare uniform. As her independence develops, she will need to wear it less.
But you know what else it means?
It means I allow someone else to look after and care for my children (and I pay for the privilege) so that I can come to work and care for your children instead.
Whilst my child is busy painting me a picture at nursery, I am being grumbled at because your child has paint on her shirt.
Whilst my child has split his lip falling off the slide at nursery, I am being told I should have been watching your child more closely.
Whilst my child is playing in the sand, I am being told I am not caring for your child properly.
I am caring for your child instead of caring for my own child.
Not just for money. But because I love my job. Because I know how important it is to me to have caring, loving professionals looking after my children.
I am that caring, loving professional for your child. But I only have two eyes. I only have two hands. Your child is your world. But I have thirty little worlds in one classroom and that’s a lot of worlds to take care of.
So please don’t take me for granted. I am caring for your child in place of my own. And I am doing so much that you don’t see.