Back to Preschool

Back to Preschool - student project



  • People you remember from that time
    • Gretchen, who was my boss. She was the first boss that really treated me like an adult. I grew very close to her and I could see inviting her to my wedding one day. She’s an amazing person.
    • Nichele was my co-worker. She seemed nice enough, but I remember thinking she wasn’t the best teacher. She seemed about as qualified as I was, and didn’t seem to care too much about what she was doing.
    • Veronica was my professor supervisor. She was one of my favorite professors of all time. She was tough, but in a really fair way. She helped me come up with my project – a children’s book on the topic of death and dying.
    • Gail was my advisor. She didn’t do too much, but she was the one who set me up with this job. So in the long run, I have a lot to thank her for.
    • Of course, there were the kids. There were so many I don’t really feel I need to list them all. Henry was probably the one who had the most impact on me, since I babysat him outside of work and bonded with his family. Noah definitely had the worst impact on me, but it was a good learning experience.
    • Nick will pretty much be in all my memories, starting from when I was 15. He helped motivate me through the hard days of this job.
  • Activities
    • Coming up with projects for the kids. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest.
    • Commuting every day, for at least 3 hours a day.
    • Going to work itself. Watching/playing with/teaching the children.
    • Playing video games when I had free time.
    • Watching TV when I got the chance.
    • Cooking new meals to try and be healthier.
  • Vivid Memories
    • My first day, not knowing what to do at all. I was so anxious to have a real job and work with kids.
    • The tiring commutes. I can imagine exactly what it feels like to be sitting in stopped traffic every morning as the sun was coming up.
    • The early mornings were brutal. I am not – nor ever will be – a morning person.
    • Getting hugs from children or having them say nice things. When I left the job, they gave me notes from each and every one, along with a picture, and I cried. The job was so fulfilling.


  • Did you enjoy that time in your life?
    • Yes I did! It was challenging, but a revelation in my life. For a while, I had no idea what I wanted to do. But with this job, I regained my love for working with children as well as my creativity.
  • Is there anything you would change?
    • I think I would appreciate the job more from the start. But aside from that, not really. It was a great opportunity that I really cared about.


This job wouldn’t be anything without the kids. Henry was probably the one who had the most impact on me, since I babysat him outside of work and bonded with his family. When I started teaching, he was three years old. He was pretty young and adorable. I loved to be around him because he had such a sweetness about him. When I would babysit him, he would get out every single one of his toys to show me. Even if he had previously shown them to me. It was like he was introducing his friends. Which, in a way, they were. Because these were the things he spent most of his home time with.

His older brother was named Jack. He didn’t go to the preschool, but he still liked to call me “Teacher Brooke.” He was the classic older brother. You could tell he had a good heart, but would love to cause trouble. He bossed Henry around like it was his job and could rile him up like no other. I found myself remarking on how different he acted at home than at school.

Henry and Jack are the ones I’m going to miss the most. Even their mom became a friend to me. When I left, Henry and Jack gave me really big hugs and gave me a card. I’m friends with them on Facebook now so I can check in on their lives and see their smiling faces. It’s odd to grow so close to children that aren’t family. But, in a way, being a teacher is kind of like being part of the family.

On the other side of the spectrum, there was Noah. He was the worst part about my new job. Initially, he wasn’t there. Him and his sister, Madeline, came in around the springtime. At first, they were quiet. They looked like twins, although Noah was older. They were polite and awkward in the environment. I didn’t connect with Noah like I did the other kids, and I couldn’t figure out why.

“I feel like I’m watching a serial killer grow up,” I said to my boyfriend after coming home from work. It sounds dramatic, but I was being completely serious. This kid was mean, apathetic, and just plain mean spirited. He loved to make other kids cry, whether through physical or mental violence. Within the first few months, he had already poured bubbles on a kids head (causing it to burn his eyes), pushed, kicked, hit and threw toys at. Even I was a victim to quite a few violent outbursts.

The truly scary thing about this kid was that he seemed to know what he was doing was wrong. He wasn’t a kid who didn’t realize how big he was. He wasn’t prone to throwing fits or losing his temper. He didn’t even really seem impulsive. Everything he did was calculated and purposeful. And after he would do these things, he would refuse to say sorry. Whether out of stubbornness or from true apathy, it’s hard to say.

These two stories are so completely different, it really shows how complicated children can be. A lot of people see children as little babies who don’t really understand anything yet. In my experience, I can just as easily have a conversation with a two year old as any other adult. Children feel pain, love, happiness, sadness, and every other complex emotion just like we do. My time with children has opened me up to their world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In this coming fall, I will be going to graduate school to study Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My goal is to get my MFT to work with families. My main hope is that I will be able to work specifically with children and adolescence to help them understand these complex emotions that they struggle with. To help a child who can’t communicate. To comfort a child going through trauma.

Dealing with a child like Henry has taught me how to be gentle. How something as simple as a toy can mean the world to someone. That even when you are three, a divorce can make an impact on you. That you can love your brother, and hate him all at the same time. That school can be a fun place, but an exhausting one. That some friends will lift you up, and some friends will drag you down. I’ve learned how to connect with a child, without letting it affect me too much.

Dealing with a child like Noah has taught me how to be firm. How children learn in different ways, not just because of age, but because of the way their brains think. How you can dislike someone, but still want to see them grow. That insecurities can grow into something ugly and mean. I learned that even the most difficult children can have really great moments that make you smile brightly. I’ve learned that working with children isn’t always going to be fun and games, but that’s why it is an important job.


I think a character that stands out most to me is the co-worker. To just start her off, I’ll get some of the basics of description out there. I’ll call her character Natalie. In reality, she was a very neutral kind of person. She was a friendly woman who helped guide me into her old position. She gave me a notebook full of notes, favorite songs, and circle time activities. However, she was someone I didn’t really click with. While not the best teacher, there wasn’t anything wrong with her teaching style. I think the best way to turn her into a fictional character would be to make her a really bad co-worker/teacher. Take any of her negative attributes and amplify them.

Natalie is a very tall, tanned woman. About 6’. This exaggerates the metaphorical distance between her and the children. She has dark hair that is always in a messy ponytail or bun. She has tortoise shell glasses that every teacher seems to have and loves to wear stripes. Despite being a preschool teacher, she doesn’t smile much. In fact, she seems pretty dead-panned most of the time. Unsure if it’s because she’s tired, bored, or unhappy with her job.

Natalie has a daughter that goes to the preschool she taught at, named . This tended to cause tension because she would treat her daughter differently than the other kids. She tended to give her special treatment. Letting her break the rules and giving her no consequences. Spending more time with her than anyone else. Using nepotism throughout her time at the preschool to have a biased style of teaching. Instead of it being an accidental shift of behavior, it would be a purposeful different interaction.

In order to amplify her negative qualities, I would make her be a truly bad teacher. Perhaps Natalie was mistreating the children, acting in an unprofessional way, falsified timecards, brought nuts into a nut-free classroom, etc. I could even go as far as child abuse, depending on the nature of the short story. Using the example of her daughter, I could say that her daughter and another child got into an altercation, but she lied about it to help her own daughter/reputation.

There was a very difficult boy at the school that no one really wanted to deal with. Natalie would have an especially difficult time treating him with kindness. Her temper would be short, and she would likely snap at him, rather than handling him in an appropriate manner. Maybe the incident with her daughter could be with this boy. And because she doesn’t like the boy to begin with, she handles the incident in a really unprofessional and unfair way.

After one of these incidents, I could have Natalie get fired or leave in a really dramatic way. She would become angry with the school and the people in it, leaving in a big spectacle. Depending on how far I want to take it, I could have the police become involved and even have her get into more trouble further than firing. It could become a big news story and have an impact on the community.

While she has a lot of negative attributes, I don’t want to make her evil. She is still a regular co-worker that someone might meet in their career. She is polite and still does everything required of her in her job. But as the story progresses, those bad habits add up and it ends up getting her into big trouble and becomes more and more of a problem. This is in an attempt to show that she is a real, normal person. Just a person who makes bad decisions and might not be the best at her job. She is flawed.