What Preschool Teachers Really Want To Say

by Katharine Strange
Originally Published: 
A happy and smiling mother holding a child in her arms as they're waving at a preschool teacher
Ariel Skelley/Getty

Preschoolers are sociopaths who can sap the energy of even the most gentle and patient parent. Preschool teachers, on the other hand, are angels sent from heaven.

Every morning I drop off my bed-headed, screaming threenager at the door and every afternoon he is returned to me smiling and usually holding a lovely craft that he made at preschool WITH GLUE! (Glue is banned at our house, for obvious reasons.)

Preschool teachers are like the kindly, wise owl in the story book. No matter how much screaming is going on, they speak in calm, reassuring tones in a mysterious language they probably learned while studying books on early childhood development.

And here’s where we encounter a problem: how can we hot mess parents, quickly communicate with these unicorn humans during the frantic moments of pick-up and drop-off? How can we come across as similarly enlightened humans instead of someone who just survived a forty-minute tantrum about shoes?

Never fear, the Preschool Teacher-to-Parent Translator is here.

What you want to say: “Don’t turn your back on this little monster or he’ll be smearing almond butter all over your precious school.”

What you actually say: “Ryderr is very tactile.”

What you want to say: “Can you please just sit her butt on the toilet all damn day? PLEASE? Potty training is making me lose my will to live.”

What you actually say: “I’m trying to encourage her to really listen to her body when it comes to potty time. REALLY listen.”

What you want to say:“My kid is being a little shit today.”

What you actually say:“Persephone is exploring her boundaries!”

What you want to say: “Please do not judge me for throwing a leftover Happy Meal into his lunch box. I swear he loves cold, stale french fries.”

What you actually say: “Our family is using the Ellyn Satter feeding method and discouraging food waste.”

It also works the other way too.

What your kid’s teacher actually says: “She’s fine. Have a great day!”

What they want to say: “Your kid will stop screaming as soon as you leave, so. Please. Just. Go!”

What your kid’s teacher actually says:“Did Jaxxon have a late night last night?”

What they want to say: “Your kid was a HOT MESS today. Put him to bed. Now.”

What your kid’s teacher actually says: “Can we take a look at Cinnamon’s nails?”

What they want to say: “Edward Scissorhands over here cut me with her talons. Please handle it!”

What your kid’s teacher actually says: “We had a little accident today!”

What they want to say: “Your kid managed to start peeing in circle time, pee all the way down the hall, pee on the bathroom floor, but when he got to the potty: nothing. I spent 20 minutes bleaching things.”

Preschool teachers are like a hug and a fluffy cloud had a baby. They are the warm casserole of human beings. They inspire us to be more kind and patient parents, and to see the world through our children’s eyes. They work an incredibly demanding job for low pay and they are completely vital to our families and our society. We owe them all the Starbucks gift cards and a hearty thanks.

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