Good Life

Ask a teacher about sparkling fashion sense

My husband, Bob, is a funny guy. I don’t think he does it intentionally, but he says things that just make me laugh. You’d think after being married to a teacher for 20 years he’d know a little something about my job. It’s not as if I don’t talk about it, for goodness sake.

Here’s the deal: Just the other day, he suggested I give myself a fashion makeover. Now, don’t get me wrong, any woman in her right mind would jump at the chance to shop. I’m no different. But has he actually looked at me after a long day in kindergarten? Well? I think not.

If he had, here’s what he would have seen: I’ve got glitter in my hair and probably somewhere on my face; permanent marker on my hands, paint somewhere on some item of my clothing and a sticker sticking somewhere it shouldn’t be sticking.

I think it might be time to remind him about what we really do during the day. It’s not all fun and games, mister, even if they are 5 years old. However, it’s not quite a Wall Street schedule, even though we could perhaps do some creative re-naming. Here it is:

u Morning coffee/meet and greet: This is where underlings throw notes and excuses at the teacher, show us their loose teeth, and give us permissions for play dates and brilliant forgeries to get out of daycare. u Board meeting, aka morning meeting: Attendees share a little too much information about what happened at home and embarrassing stories about their family members and pets. Confidentiality is always maintained, and we try to hold chuckles to a minimum.

P.S. These meetings are held on the carpet, criss-cross applesauce.

u Appointment calendar: Dates with the art teacher, music teacher, and librarian and guest speakers are scheduled during this time slot. We review our commitments for the day, and repeatedly (every day) deny all requests to extend recess and free play.

u Professional development workshops: Some people might call these learning centers. This is the time when we do the good stuff — you know, teach ’em to read, write and how to sprinkle glitter. Sometimes the glitter even makes it on the projects. Doesn’t everything look better when it sparkles?

u Power lunch: The generous 20-minute time period given to teachers to eat on the fly (if you can actually find your lunch in the cavernous thing we call a fridge), call parents, use the copy machine, try to get paint out of your clothes and perhaps sneak a trip to the bathroom, which is greatly needed after the gallon of coffee required to face the roomful of clients.

P.S. Don’t even think about microwaving anything; the line is way too long.

u Off-site meeting, aka recess: The teacher is usually helping someone stuck on the monkey bars or jungle gym, looking at various dead insects brought over for inspection, consoling the injured ninja soccer players and convincing them that being bloody is cool, or helping the swing-challenged get a start. This is also known as our 30-minute workout. (Jane Fonda has nothing on us.)

u Budget meeting: This is the time we spend teaching the children that numbers are not letters, that you can add them together and — ta da! — when you do they make an even bigger number. It always helps to give them edible manipulatives — it makes math much more interesting, and quite delicious. (Why haven’t they thought of that on Wall Street?)

So, now that Bob has generously offered to take me out shopping, I am just wondering if I ought to go to the Army/Navy store instead of Macy’s. Is there something out there I can wear that is glitter proof, marker proof, vomit proof and paint resistant? Yeah, my blue jeans, that’s what.

Debbie Patrick is a kindergarten teacher, monthly columnist and blogger for the CDT. If you’re looking for a funny story, you might want to check out her blog. You can e-mail her at for any fashion advice — apparently she needs it.