Brendan’s teacher was due to have her baby today. She notified all of the parents of that on the first day of school. She arranged for her long term substitute to come into the classroom last Wednesday and work with the class to ensure a smooth transition for them all. She utilized the same long term substitute that she had 2 years ago, since most of the children would have known her. Everything was arranged perfectly to make a smooth and easy transition for all of the third graders.
There was just one problem with this whole plan…the baby had other plans.
I picked Brendan up from school on Monday, and he seemed very out of sorts. It took a few minutes of probing to find out that his teacher had her baby on Sunday. Now, we’re talking 2 days difference from when she was due to leave and when she did leave. To most kids, that 2 days would have been nothing at all. To Brendan it was like the world was coming to an end. He was so upset over it that his spelling homework, which usually takes him about 15-20 minutes, took him over 2 hours…with parental assistance. He was completely unable to concentrate, he was supposed to write his spelling words in alphabetical order and couldn’t even seem to remember what order the alphabet went in.
I finally sat down with him close to bedtime so we could read together and had a talk with him. I couldn’t understand why he was SO upset about his teacher having her baby, it wasn’t like we hadn’t been preparing him for it since mid-August. So I asked him to explain to me his point of view. It was quite simple really, and it just about broke my heart. He told me that his teacher abandoned him, and he didn’t get to say goodbye. All I could do was wrap him up into a great big hug, and explain that she didn’t abandon him. She’d be back in 6 weeks just like she promised. I also talked to him about how babies have their own schedules for arriving, and that there wasn’t anything his teacher could do to stop it. I reminded him that sometimes babies come early when your not expecting them to…just like he did. This information really seemed to perk him up.
So now, while he likes his long term substitute and is relaxing into the routine of having her for a teacher, he is anxiously counting down the days until the Monday after Thanskgiving. The day his beloved teacher will return to school.