Quttin’ Time

I quit my job today.

I love my toddlers, yes. I loved taking care of them, watching them learn, and giving them hugs.

I didn’t love the center I worked at. I didn’t like that the “i” in the alphabet stood for “Indian”. I didn’t like the project we did yesterday, with the accompanying booklet that said “Eskimos live in houses made of ice called igloos”. I especially didn’t like that the same booklet listed a bunch of arctic animals (uhh, penguins? I don’t think they live in the arctic), and on the page with Inuit people, said “People are animals, too”. No. No, no, no. I will not be responsible for another generation growing up and thinking Inuit live in igloos. I will not be responsible for ingraining racism against native people, nor pity, either.

I didn’t love what they fed the kids. Breakfast was fruit loops and canned, heavy syrup fruit. Lunch was 5 meals, the same meals every week. Monday was fish or chicken nuggets, either carrots or broccolli, and that same canned fruit. Tuesday was meatballs, the same two vegetables, and the same fruit. Wednesday was lasagna, the same vegetable, and the same fruit. Thursday was tuna casserole, the same vegetable, the same fruit. Friday was pizza, and again, the same vegetable and fruit. Snack was some horrible “juice drink,” and sugary cookies.

Playground equipment was not in good repair. They could no longer use the teeter-totter, as it had huge cracks on it, causing it to bend.

The classrooms were reasonably enriching, I admit, but the books were horrible. They had NO pop-up books, and the science books were really outdated. The apatasaurous was still listed as “Brontasaurus,” and they had some of those horrible Christian “dinosaurs lived with people” books.

It is not that the center could not afford to feed the children any better. The directors all drive expensive cars (think jaguar or something like that) with custom paint jobs. Their hair is always freshly done, and they wear nice clothing. It made me sick to think that this low-income daycare, where quite a few of the children’s tuition is paid by Hennepin County assistance, has directors, who instead of making things really enriching for kids whose parents work long, tiring hours and can’t provide that enrichment, spend the money on themselves.

I also didn’t like the way the directors encouraged us to treat children. A child in my classroom recently pulled down his diaper and pants, and deliberately shat on the floor. This is the same child, who along with his brother, comes to school crying inconsolably. This is a kid who is the 5th of a very large family. My first thought was that there was something wrong either with his emotional health, or something wrong at home (obviously, maybe both). I mentioned to the director my suspicions, and she responded with “You need to control him. He’s 2. He can’t poop anywhere you don’t want him to.”  I brought the kid down to her to show her he had been sobbing for about half an hour, and she grabbed his face, shouting “You need to shut up. No one cares if you cry. Shut up!.” He was obviously terrified, and swallowed his sobs. The director smugly smiled at me and said “see? They need to know they aren’t allowed to cry. He’s a baby. You can control him “. What. The. Fuck.  Yeah, he’s a baby! Babies cry when something is wrong, not because they are “spoiled”.

This is the same director who advised the mother of one of my students to “spank her harder” if she was acting out. She advised this, without actually having any in-classroom time with the girl. The girl is a very inquisitive, sweet child who loves to test boundaries. Scolding her (and I imagine, spanking her) only causes defiant, angry behavior. She responds really well to time-outs, especially if something really fun is going on while she’s in time-out. I told her mom about the time-out strategy, and she was skeptical. She tried it at home, and lo and behold, it worked!

I cannot work for racist people in a center where the directors are getting fat off the sweat of the poor.

Fuck that.


1 Response to “Quttin’ Time”

  1. 1 R June 30, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Agh, I totally posted a comment on the wrong entry because I’m an idiot…

    Anyway, enjoying your blog. That director is jacked.

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