I’m teaching one day a week at Fern’s nursery school — it’s a co-op, so once a week I bring in some activity I’ve invented, or, more often, something I used to teach to my older kids when I was still doing outdoor education.
Actually, usually I find the activities on the Internet. But I digress.
A few weeks ago, I brought in some little craft balls I’d found at my favorite variety store and the kids stuck ’em together with pipe cleaners and decorated them like planets. I’m not especially astronomy-oriented, but I thought I should try just once to make my activity align with the monthly theme, which that month was “Earth and Space” or something.
Anyway, it wasn’t anything particularly special, craft-wise, although it did have the virtue of being 3-dimensional — the kids always like that. But when the director came down to check out what we were doing, the thing she kept on about was how very masculine the project seemed. My favorite line was this: "We need more male teachers, the dads always come up with things like that."
Really? Something about planets is necessarily a “dad” thing? And more to the point – How do you respond to a compliment when you don’t agree with the reasoning behind it?
"Thanks, but I don’t see anything especially male here…?"
Or, "Yeah, and next week we’ll be doing beer bottle top necklaces for Mothers’ Day — something for everyone!"
Or point out that I agree that we need more male teachers, but not for that reason?
In the end, I just said "Thanks," because that’s what you do when someone says something nice. But Oh! That’s a pet peeve of mine — being commended for the wrong thing.