Monday, November 5, 2007

I Guess I'm the Mama Bear

I've heard that the mama bear is very protective of her little cubs...and today I realized that I am totally the mama bear (if the mama bear is also anal-retentive, slightly sarcastic and wears fabulous shoes).

Today we had to go to a workshop where two Teaching Artists taught us about Mariachi music. Next week, we are going to see them in concert. Cool concept, right? Totally.

We're in the auditorium and my little cubs were all lined up and listening attentively. It was one of those moments when you look at them and are insanely proud and get a little misty (then you remember where you are and feel super lame?).

The Teaching Artist (after talking for 30 solid minutes without involving the children in any way...clearly we are using the term "teaching" loosely here because no one in their right mind would do that to 20 7-year olds right after's almost like a ticking time bomb) then asked my children to get on stage to try dancing but requested that "the teacher stay seated".

Um, ok. Sister friend, this is my world and I can make decisions for myself...but I remained quiet and did what I was told. After all, it's about the kids and the music, right?

They get themselves all organized on stage and are looking particularly precious. The "Teaching" Artist then gave the following directions (in broken English I might add, but will not attempt to imitate here because I don't want to offend anyone but really, it just made following these directions that much harder):

"Walk on stage like a performer. NO! Not like no no!! You look this!!

My little cubs get on stage but aren't sure where to stand (because of no direction) and are doing their best.

Um...(deep breath) she's almost yelling at them...(deep breath)...she gave them no clear directions...(deep breath)...she told me to stay down here...(deep breath)...I'm going to let this go...but WATCH OUT friend.

"Boys and girls we are going to try this dance. Boys stand this way (She demonstrates). Girls, stand this way (she demonstrates). Ok, then we are all going to start on the right foot and stamp eight times. Rest for eight beats. Then stamp your left foot eight times. Wait for eight beats. Stamp your right foot four times, four beats, left for four, four beats. Right for two, beat beat, left for two beat beat. Right one, wait one, left one, wait one, right, left, right, left, right, left...then we're marching, we'll speed it up and stop. OK?"


At this point, my precious bear cubs eyes are totally glazed over, people are picking their noses, adjusting socks and tying shoes. Yea, this is going to be interesting.

The music starts and people just start dancing. There is random stamping, attempts at counting to themselves, and for some reason, a lot of snapping.

The "Teaching Artist" then begins to SCREAM: "NO NO NO! You are not listening at all...hellOOOOOO...what grade are you supposed to be in? You can't even count to eight?!?! What are your teachers teaching you??"

OK, bee-atch, it's ON!!! I quickly leave my place in the seats, jump up on stage and set her straight. Then I calmly model the dance for the students. We practice it slowly and then practice it slowly and SURPRISE!! they can do it (within reason).

And that's when I realized that NO ONE talks to my little cubs like that...I am the mama bear so watch out!


Jennifer said...

We find ourselves really needing to stick up for our kids more often than we expect.

Sarah Amick said...

I feel that way even when I send them on to other grades and I see teachers that don't talk nicely to them. Watch out! You did the right thing though, if you won't stand up for them then who will really?

17 (really 15) more years said...

Hell, I'm even that way with my 8th graders. One of my colleagues was actually making fun of one of my precious little angels the other day (we won't even discuss how she probably shouldn't be teaching). Well, I went all Rambo on her ass- NOBODY makes fun of my homeroom kids, they're like my babies. They'll even tell you when their behavior is less than perfect-"but you forgive us because you love us like we're your own kids".

How right they are.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am a total Mama Bear. Ane I use the term "bear" in the most grizzly terms. Even when the parents rattles their own child's cage, I get defensive. If "artists" are going to work with children, they need to go back to school and learn some teaching and engaging techniques. She sounded as if she never even had a child of her own. Mystery Teacher

Jen Barney said...

Right on Mama Bear!

Ms M. said...

I find it incredibly ballsy that people think they can speak inappropriately to a child whether in the presence of another adult/teacher or not. I get very protective of mine because even though they often drive me nuts they’re still not someone else’s to ridicule and put down!

Smithie said...

Any time an outsider tries to mess with a teacher's youngsters, it. Is. On!

Anonymous said...

I think we can all use a "mama bear," when we are that old. And it is easy for inexperienced teachers, such as the one you mentioned in the post, the lose patience and forget about the capabilities and reality of being seven years old. It's good to have an overprotective teacher, that is proud of her students and knows their limits enough to know the environment, style, etc. that the children learn best in.

In other words, I wish my elementary teachers had been more like you.

Anonymous said...


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