Help Wanted

Piper’s kindergarten teacher quit today. She didn’t come back for the second day of school. It doesn’t really matter why. I’ve been told on good authority, though, that it wasn’t something Piper did. Whew.

So Piper had a substitute teacher in kindergarten today. It’s not ideal. In fact, it’s a mess. And there’s not a darn thing I can do about it. I’ve already tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. Piper seemed to be holding her own adjusting to the new school, new friends, new classroom, new rules, but this new teacher thing was too much.

“I hate the substitute! She’s boring. All she knows how to do is boring school! I want my teacher back!” Piper cried in my lap, curled up in a ball. “It’s not fair,” she said. I had to agree. Then I had to tell her that her teacher, the one she’d known for exactly one day, wouldn’t be coming back. New Kindergarten Teacher couldn’t hack it. I’m not that surprised, but none of that matters to Piper. She just wants what she expected, the teacher I told her she’d have. Her five-year-old self can’t understand the adult world and how a new teacher could quit after one day. “Who’s going to be my teacher then?” Piper asked.

“Well, the substitute you had today will be here for the rest of the week,” I explained.

“How long is that?”

“Three more days. Your principal promised me today that you’d have a new teacher by next week. So, three more days with the substitute and then you get a brand new teacher.”

“Why three days?”

“Your principal wants to find the best one. He wants to make sure he gets it right. He’s going to find a special new teacher for your class.”

“But I hate the substitute. She should go back to substitute school and become less boring!” I went to school today to meet the substitute after I met with the principal. She was perfectly nice and competent. Sissy had this particular substitute several times in her own class and raved about her. In fact Piper’s class seemed much better managed the second day under the substitute’s direction.

“I understand, P. I’m sorry,” I said. I listened to her complain some more. I told her I was proud of how she’d adjusted so far and I knew that she’d do okay with this change, too. I told her that sometimes change is hard and uncertainty is harder. I told her that whatever teacher gets Piper in her class is the luckiest teacher in the school.

“I’m not going back,” Piper said. I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t tell her she didn’t have to because she does. I have to make her. I have to agree that this sucks and let the school do its job. I have to hand her her lunchbox and her backpack and send her back in, even if I don’t want to because I have enough faith in this school and even more in Piper.