Pitting my daughter's preschool teacher. (long & whiney)

The blah blah blah background

For three years we have belonged to a co-operative preschool. Our son was in for one year, our daughter for two. Every family has a specific job to do at the co-op to help keep the costs down.

My job for three years has been Year Book Mom. When I was called to see what jobs I would take three years ago, I had a choice of Party Mom ( attending all the birthday parties & holiday celebrations. ) or Yearbook Mom; putting together individual scrapbooks for the kids with pictures you take. All the other jobs were taken. At the end of the year you can sign up for a different job that is becoming vacated by an outgoing parent. I always chose Yearbook Mom because it allowed me creative control over something I really like doing: taking pictures. And I think I have a better than average eye for layout and design, but I am putting the cart before the horse.

I said yes to the latter and afterwards I found out it wasn’t the 5x7 little freebie photo brag books that I assumed it would be, but an 8 x11 3 ring binder with clear sheet protectors to hold pages of art and pictures.

When I found out how much was involved I was in a state of mental panic from September until March. I am not into scrapbooks. I think it is a colossal waste of money and a huge guilt-based business that women fall prey too. It is the new Amway/Mary Kay/Avon. I have watched and listened to women put hundreds of dollars into a scrapbook ( a basic achival book begins at about $45 and shoots up from there.) and then complain that no one ever looks at it. And worse off is the fact that every scrapbook picture I’ve looked at have been sub-par pictures surrounded by do-dads and whatnot so it totally distracts the entire picture anyway. But my dislike of how much scrapbooking and lack of talent in most cases is not really relevant here.

I figured out how to do all my pages on the computer so that was my border and I just used one or two pictures per page to bring a focus to the subject. With the pictures that the parents gave me ( most were the kind that would never leave the shoebox of life) I put in at the end of each month’s as sort of scrub photo potpurri. I stream lined the whole process and instead of working on them every weekend for a school year, I work one weekend and get them done. I am really proud of myself.

FTR, even my husband, Mr. It Must Be Done This Way and all that German exactness, really likes them.

I invested into a digital camera ( I was going too anyways.) and I have to say, I learned an exceptional amount of how to take pictures of kids and group shots.
( Most group shots, unless somewhat staged, are too cluttered.) My pictures turned out great, the books came out great the first year and everyone Oooooohed appropriately.

My budget from the preschool was the lofty $45. HAH!

I saved my receipts and everything that I used ( and didn’t use but was told I would need) cost more than $200. I was reimbursed for $100. So I was happy, since I used the other stuff that I didn’t really need ( stencils& markers.) for my kids.

The second year, my pictures were better. Way better. My program on the computer had more graphics and I paced myself with them and did eveyrthing up perfect to my discerning eye. I got a bigger ‘ohhhhh’ this year. My budget had been raised to $90 because I wrote the then-treasurer a major ass kissing letter when submitting my bills.

This year, I have not been properly motivated to work on the book because I couldn’t find the CD-Rom for it ( it’s been at my SIL house since last year, but I had forgotten this.) So I did my work last week on a new program my SIL had gotten and it took a bit of time to get back into the rythm of things and peruse all the new graphics, got my pictures back ( again, great stuff, not my best, but way way way better than the parents shit I’m given.) and finished all but two books last night. My daughter’s( which I have been working on throughout the year by stuffing artwork as it comes in into it to help with Damage Control) and the teacher’s, who gets an entirely different kind of book. ( Each child gets their own page/each holiday/field trip gets a page.)

The Main Problem.
The problem about this job is not the actually doing of the books, but being given shit loads upon shitloads of photo’s and kiddie artwork from parents. Keeping it contained for 18 kids and one teacher is a fucking nightmare. It has taken up a permament residence on either my credenza in the kitchen or a corner in the basement for the better part of three years. Three years. Yeah, I know I could have signed up for being the Goldfish Parent, but where is the creativity in that?

The bigger problem is you get parents who give you every peice of art their precious kids do ( despite the fact you tell them it cannot be bigger than 8x11 or it won’t fit.) and they expect you to do their scrapbooking for them or make all the pictures go away. I am not doing their entire scrapbook and I will not be the badcop and throw away your childs artwork. You have to do that yourself. Life’s a bitch, get over it.

So in the back of every binder, they get back the 2000+ photos ( nearly everyone of them subpar.) and every fucking piece of artwork your little one has wiped their ass with this year. HAH. Take that! You can have a cluttered house now, not me!

The other problem is the parents who don’t give me shit at all during the year. Sadly, these are not first timers here, but usually the ones with a couple of kids already through. Not one photo or peice of artwork have you given me. I will not nag. I give out two notices during the year: Start of school and After Xmas. I am not your mother. These are not my children. Maybe if you actually participated in their lives other than limo’ing them to and fro school before you rush off to run errands or to do a couple of haircuts before you have to pick them up, you might notice that your child is growing very rapidly and *these days are so very precious. * Creating a book that your child will look at now and years down the road out of fucking nothing is not exactly easy.
The point
So, today, I was more than happy to lob off this completed pile of 17 books into the pre-school waiting room for the parents to get. Wednesday is our last day with it being Graduation and all. ( I agree with Mr. Incredible more than ever now.)

I haul these into school being someone on time ( We are usually 5-10 minutes behind schedule because of two kids in two different schools factor and “I can’t find my shoes/lunch/show-n-tell” three days a week despite the fact that these items are laid out the night before. YAY for time warps and invisible items!)

The preschool teacher, who is excellent if not the best preschool teacher I’ve ever run across and everyone agrees she is brilliant with the kids.
Its working with adults that she needs to go back and take some classes.

Because I’ve been there three years, I’ve developed a thick skin to her ‘it needs to be done this way’ tone that is so condescending and laden with guilt-injection that it is almost like you are a preschooler when talking with her. Forntunately ( or unfortunately) I have a SIL that is exactlylike this teacher and I am use to the everyone always obeys me because my shit doesn’t stink thinking. These teachers are use to the adoration and doglike approval of small children and forget that adults are free-range thinking creatures. They are brilliant with kids, lousy with adults and real life.

So, I get to the school early - a miracle for me- and drag these two large tote bags loaded with 17 books in. I wanted to put them in on the sign in table so the mom’s could pick them up as they signed in. As I did last year. and the year before.

The teacher, who has a free moment and now that I think about it, a bee up her nose from something else, told me they were to be given out at Graduation and the only time they have been given out before hand was when I did it in the years past.

I cannot tell you how this made me go from “happy to do this job and I’m gonna get the well-deserved headbuzz in a moment when the mom’s come in” into a dark instanteous depression. A kind that hasn’t hit me so hard in fifteen years or so. I was expecting the mom’s to be happy and I would have my mental ticker tape parade basking in their ‘ooohing’, but this comment kicked me in the fucking stomach. Talk about a buzzkill. I took my bags out ( she offered to store them for graduation, but I want my totes back and with my luck, the yearbooks would be left in storage during graduation and it would be a three ring circus to run a block over, unlock the building and unlock the storage room. I’d rather leave all the elements of possibly fucking up in my hands.)

How dare I actually do something different than in the last 17 years of her teaching?Sorry, my life doesn’t evolve verbally masterbating you and all your wonderfulness, you pris. How dare I not actually read my job description fully! If I did the pictures would be shit and the paper would be construction paper, which fades, because of the $45 limit.) How dare I ruin their graduation experience by making it less special handing out the yearbooks beforehand and not the day of? Oh the emotional scarring…how will they evar survive?

I just suck in the eyes of this woman.

You bitch!

I haven’t had clean countertops in three years because of this job.

I am doing what none of the mothers ever wanted to do because it is the only job at the school where I get to work solo the entire year and at my own pace. Oh, and I don’t have to work with you, which everyone of the board members for the past three years say that you are a Basic Nightmare behind the scenes.

I should get a rebate on tuition because of the money and time spent on this and the three other year book moms ( other classes) agree.

You ruined my entire creative experience. You took my buzz. * You.took.my.buzz. *


If you are still awake and have slogged through all of this: Thank you.

I read the whole thing and I want to smack this woman for you.

I have an employee who works for me part-time and has a full-time career as a kindergarten teacher.

She suffers from the same lack of adult-interaction-skill you mentioned so I empathize.

You handled it much better than I would have.

Tell me where she lives and I’ll do a WWE style smackdown on her with my shoe.

People like that make my teeth ache.

Wow, I thought my mom was awesome because she cleaned the bathrooms at my preschool co-op.

You derseve a medal for all your hard work, not a kick in the guts!!!


I’m feeling much better now.

A huge storm is rolling over us right now and for the last two hours I’ve been in bed with a migraine. Makes this morning seem like nothing.

I hate mother nature.

I mean this as an honest question, because I don’t understand:

What is the difference between handing out the books (which sound fabulous) the day before vs. at graduation? Don’t you still get to bask in the appreciation, since all the parents will be there?

I know I’m missing something, I just don’t know what.

Beadalin, I’m guessing the graduation ceremony will be much more hectic, and there will be less chance for the mothers to look at the books, much less tell the creator “Wow, great job!”.

Actually, I’m confused, too. Did you tell the teacher how much it would mean to you to give them out that day? How you’d been looking forward to it? Did you ask her kindly if she’d let you do it that day?

Because her request may have been based on some aspect of classroom management that’s familiar to her and not to you; her request may have been completely non-malevolent. If you just acquiesced and are now holding a grudge against her, it’s probably best to clear the air post-haste.

I’m just not seeing what it is that she did wrong here.

I don’t want to put words in Shirley’s mouth, but what I would feel in that situation is a huge jolt of WTF? And WTF when you were getting set for YAY ME! is disturbing and jarring and Just Not Nice.

And knowing the type of teacher she’s talking about, the news was probably not delivered in the most reasonable of tones - that can go a long way in upping the grr factor.

Oh, oh-how I hate that.
I’m an adult for pete’s sake. Don’t talk down to me or I’ll make you wery wery sowwy.

Oh man, you have my sympathies. I, too, have belonged to a co-op preschool with unreasonable demands and an awful teacher. That woman was indeed great with the kids, and terrible for adults to work with–every once in a while she would reduce someone to tears. They all stayed for the community and the people, and despite her.

(That school wanted all my time and my grandmother too. I decided I already had a volunteer job like that and didn’t need another one, so after a semester I quit and formed a home preschool group.)

But that whole scrapbook debacle is just icky. A pox upon the teacher, I say!

I am so sorry she took away your buzz!!! My heart sunk reading that. I know exactly what you mean. That was just evil of her.

And I totally agree about scrapbooking - bleh bleh bleh!

However, about your dirty countertops ---------> that one might’ve been a reach :wink:

Well, I like scrapbooking, so there. I love taking pictures, and have always been big on photo albums, so when the craze started I was right there. I agree on the over-fussiness of many albums however–I’m a minimalist, myself. (Or that’s what I like to claim when people look at my nearly-naked pages…) :stuck_out_tongue:

You understand me and said this better than I could have myself.

If I put to verbage what I felt after the buzzkill smackdown I got, It would have made the Soprano’s look like the Wiggles. and I’d really like to think that I have more self control over my inner Tony Soprano. It really took me by surprise and that is very hard to do. But I didn’t have coffee this AM either…so I can blame myself for my present decaf state.
I told Mr. Ujest what happened and since tomorrow is the Class Picnic-end-of-the-year-preschool-palooza stuff (which it will probably rain and it’s outdoors. YAY!) he just said, " Just hand them out then and watch Ms. Pris’ reaction. :smiley: Some days I am greatly reminded of why I married him. This was one of them.
I’ve also always handed them out before graduation because it is such a chaotic day with the Grandparents, parents, Dads who really need to get back to work, and younger siblings who resent not being free-range. Oh and the food…mom’s have their hands full. Who wants to deal with a three ring binder as well? It doesn’t exactly fit into the purse at all.
Anyways, thanks to everyone who read the Tawdriness of a Preschool Mom.
Look for my next scintillating installment of " Tales from Kindergarten." next year.


First, you deserve a gold medal. Parents like you are to be nominated for sainthood! I suppose your child is off to kindergarten but here’s a “hindsight is 20/20” suggestion. Instead of your investing so much time and effort into making the scrapbooks, a good idea might have been holding monthly parent evening or afternoon (with you as coordinator) where parents could work on their own child’s scrapbook from the photos you collected to present to their own child. That way you would’ve only had to host the parent scrapbook “meetings” and the slackers would have been responsible for their own child’s lack of memorabilia. :smack:

Well…yeah…except for the part where she says it now takes her one weekend a year to get all this done.

Have you ever tried to get a meeting going for more than three people? And you want her to do it monthly? :eek: She’d be better off just setting fire to the preschool teacher.

Um, yes I have. All she’d need to do is announce it, be there for say one hour and be done with it. If they show, they show. If they don’t, they have nothing to show for it by year’s end.


But in a cooperative, the whole point is for each parent to take a task so no one has to do all of them. While **Shirley **is making Yearbooks, she’s not baking goodies for the class party or sorting books for the booksale.

You might personally prefer a “everybody for their own kid” approach, but it’s antithetical to a cooperative preschool.

Yearbooks? In preschool? Individual scrapbooks with personalized photos (both photos contributed by parents and ones you take yourself) and artwork for each of 18 kids? Plus a special one for the teacher documenting each individual child and every event throughout the school year?

Still trying to wrap my head around that part.

Not that it doesn’t sound like a nice memento, but way too much trouble and fuss, IMHO (not to mention money). When I Was Their Age ™, we got our class photo and maybe our individual photos once a year when the school photographer came, and that was it. Archiving the photos and our own artwork was up to us and our parents. Nobody bothered taking group photos on field trips or class parties.

Hmmm, I guess I’m kind of threadshitting here, and I will shut up and slink out. (And if you are going to institute a major documentary project like this in a preschool, then I agree that the OP’s preschool teacher is indeed being a clod about how to handle it.)

But I really was stunned by the whole concept. Wouldn’t it be less hassle for kids, teachers and parents alike just to enjoy the kids’ events as they happen, without so much commitment to documenting them artistically for posterity? Is anybody really going to give a hoot about these yearbooks five or six years down the line? Doesn’t what the OP said about scrapbooks kind of apply here?

Okay, okay, I’m slinking, I’m slinking. Sorry. Bye.

Not to mention, the parents who are being the biggest pains about getting stuff to her on time - or at all - are the types who wouldn’;t make it to a meeting like that. I’d suspect Shirley would feel responsibility for the kids whose yearbooks would either suck or be nonexistant and end up doing those anyhow. So basically the parents who make it easier would still be making it easier and the ones who make it harder would still make it harder…and Shirley wouldn’t have the satisfaction of a job well done HERSELF like she does now.

I think.