|Surliest primary teacher in the West. Err... we don't live in the West anymore. Nevermind...|
Yes, the kids are adorable and their talks are sweet, but what the primary program means for primary teachers is this: no teaching lessons for an entire month! That's right, for the entire month of October they take what was already a fun and easy calling and make it even easier... and more fun.
Our primary program was today and, at least from where I was sitting, it was a roaring success. The kids were super adorable and sweet, the singing was great, and even little Olivia got to get up and sing "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man" for part of it. Cute cute cute.
And I don't know if this is church policy or just tradition, but once the program is over, the entire primary skips class and just parties for the next two hours of church. Didn't I tell you this was the best time of the year to be a primary teacher? It is.
For our post-program party today we were all treated to watching a "movie" (okay, so it was actually just a bunch of Mormon Messages, but they are great!) and eating popcorn and fruit snacks. The kids even did a phenomenal job of cleaning up every tiny bit of popcorn that fell on the floor. Are they great kids, or what?
During the last hour the primary presidency made some attempt at including a lesson in our party and, for part of it, the kids were split up into groups and were supposed to color pictures of various church-related things. The group we were in charge of was doing a fine job, but you can really only keep 10 and 11-year old boys occupied coloring for so long. After a little while, these older boys started getting restless. I went over to gently remind them that we were in church and they still needed to be reverent and respectful... and that's when it went downhill. Most of the boys were fairly chill and polite about the whole thing. One of them (and I honestly don't even know his name) unfortunately decided to be fairly openly rude to me.
Now, I'll pause here and say that I don't think I'm all that bad, but I'm pretty sure I'm the meanest teacher in our entire primary. And I'm not kidding. It's not that I'm especially mean, it's just that all of the other teachers (Bryan included) are especially nice. So, ya know, in comparison... Anyway, I'm kind of a stickler about calling kids out on stuff they know they shouldn't be doing. Especially when it's stuff I don't even let my 3 year-old get away with.
So here I am with this boy who was being pretty rude. Any other teacher in primary would have smiled at him sweetly and said something really nice. Because, ya know, they're nice. But apparently I'm not because I called this kid on his behavior. He gave me that "you're the meanest teacher in primary" glare, but apologized. But then as I was getting up to leave them to finish cleaning, he went back to doing exactly what I had just asked him not to do. So not cool. I confronted him about it again and I think he finally got that I was not one of those nice teachers. He sulked off, but stopped being rude and misbehaving.
I've been thinking a lot about this since it happened this morning at church. On the one hand, I feel like I did the right thing. The kid was definitely old enough to know better (and I'm sure he did know better), it was entirely inappropriate for him to be rude to his teachers (especially women, just my own opinion), and it was right for me to require respect and have him apologize and stop acting that way.
On the other hand, I feel pretty bad about about being the meanest primary teacher there ever was. I keep thinking about next Sunday when this kid's mom is trying to get him ready for church and he won't want to go and she'll never know why and eventually he'll quit going to church all together and all because some mean old primary teacher made him feel bad and he sulked through the rest of primary hating the world.
Sigh. Hopefully, like most 10 and 11 year-old boys, he's already been distracted by a delicious Sunday dinner and he's forgotten about the whole thing and I'm the only one still sulking about it. It's just that I really do feel bad. Well, and that I also really do feel like I did the right thing. Hmm. It's tricky business, trying to do the right thing and always be nice at the same time. I don't know how the other primary teachers do it.