I have a special role on the earth. Every Sunday I teach two and three year olds. I have 12 students (most of whom are two) and two sainted helpers, Miss Ariel who is the preventer of the crayon pounding and table kicking and Miss Leah whose extraordinary reflexes snag the little deserters before they make it out the door. And while teaching two and three year olds is a bit like herding cats, I love it. Although I must admit that I have been privileged to teach very articulate two and three year olds. (BTW, if you are the parent of a child in my class, don’t worry. Names are withheld to protect the guilty.)
One reason is that it is hilarious. Me to child: “Honey, why are you coloring Adam red and orange?” Child: “Because Adam is on fire for Eve.” Miss Ariel, Miss Leah, and I burst out laughing, and I tell the child, “Great idea.” Another time, one of my little girls asked to try on my heeled sandals, so I let her. Afterwards, I said, “I need my shoes back.” A tear streamed down her cheek. “I know and that makes me sad.”
Besides the fun, I love that my students are completely honest. Me to a child, “You need to sit in your seat.” Child, “What if I tell you no?” Me: “And what if I tell you that I’ll go get your Daddy.” Child considers the situation. “I think I’ll sit in my seat.” Me, “That would be wise.” Or, Me: “You may not color on the table, do you understand?” Child, “No, I don’t understand.” Me, “I think you do.” Child scowls and stops coloring on the table.
After a few skirmishes where we determine that I’m in charge of the class and they are not, they are exuberant with their love. Their faces smile at me, and it feels like I’m looking at the sun—and that’s not just when I’m passing out Winnie the Pooh cookies. In fact, I become the Queen of the Universe, their first teacher. Their first step into “being big.” In fact, one parent told me that when his son is unhappy with them he says, “I’m telling my Sunday school teacher on you.”