Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm back. Well, sort of. Not really. Still working on stuff. Anyway, does anybody have any ideas about the following conversation that took place between me and the seven year old today? Because it really threw me for a loop. I think I handled it okay. First a little information about what's been going on. I received a job offer from a Preschool. I have gone on two interviews, and worked one full day there. They offered me the job. It is not certain yet wether or not I will accept the job. There are so many factors to consider. I have a whole other post on this coming in the next few days. Miss K accompanied me on one of the job interviews, so she has seen and been to the school. I did not watch her on Wednesday so I could do a trial run at the new school. The next day, I am sitting at the computer when Miss K wakes up and comes to sit in the office with me. The following conversatiion took place:

Miss K: "Did you like your job interview yesterday?"
Me: "Yes. I think it went very well. I might take the job"
Miss K "I bet it was scary."
Me(puzzled) "Why do you say that?"
Miss K "Because of all the Jewish people there."
Me "Huh? Why would that be scary? They are just people. Like you and me. No difference."
Miss K "I know. But they're Jewish." And she physically shudders!

At this point I am dumbfounded. And angry. Where would a seven year old pick up something like this? To my knowledge, her parents don't feel this way. I asked her to leave the office so I could finish up an e-mail. What I really needed was time to calm down and process what just happened and come up with something appropriate to say to a seven year old about tolerance.
When I came out of the office we sat down and had a long talk about how people are the same, no matter what their religious beliefs. I explained to her that the school I interviewed at was the same as her school, only they had younger children and a synagogue instead of a church.
I thought I had made my point and I got up to go into the kitchen. I asked her if she understood what I had said. Her response?

"Yeah. But they're still scary."

ARRRRRRGH!!!! Did she listen to a word I said?This is where I let my anger show a little bit and told her I don't want to hear that again. It simply is not O.K. People come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They have different beliefs. It does not make them any different than us. I asked her how she would feel if someone said to her "You're Catholic? Ewwwww!". Do you know what she said? "Why would they say that?" I said "Because not everyone in the world is Catholic." "I'm not Catholic." To which she simply replied "Oh. Can I ride my scooter now?" Sigh. I'm not sure if she got the point but I'm fairly certain she won't be making any negative comments again. She did understand that it upset me, even if she didn't get why. I know I am going to have to face more of these issues when Sophie comes home. I hope I have the patience and understanding to teach people tolerance without letting it upset me.

P.S. I have a whole post coming about my feelings about teaching at a Jewish school when I am not Jewish. Half the staff there is not Jewish, so I won't feel like the odd man out. It is simply a matter of educating myself and learning the curriculum, just like I would at any other school. After all, I worked at a Catholic school for fourteen years and I am not Catholic.


Journeywoman said...

The first teaching job my husband had was at a Jewish school. Not only a Jewish school, a hasidic school, where they are ultra orthodox. He became one of the most popular teachers there. The kids loved him and respected him.

Had the money been better he'd still be there. Feel free to email me for more info.

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

Let us know what you decide.

wzgirl said...

I wonder if maybe she just doesn't quite understand what the word "Jewish" means? Maybe it is an odd, scary-sounding word to her? It would be great if you or her parent could further explore. I also think that it is great that she told you what she did - that makes for opportunity for change....

Congrats on the new job, btw!! (Well, if you take it. BUt, congrats on the offer!)

redmaryjanes said...

I'm glad about conversation you had with her. There is so much intolerance in the world. She is learning it from somewhere, she can hopefully 'unlearn' it from you.

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