I know it’s moronic to argue with Jen Psaki but a teacher who doesn’t know how to distract a kindergartner from a topic that doesn’t relate to class material is completely unqualified to teach. “What if a kid asks something utterly inappropriate?” is pedagogy 101. “Mrs Smith, why do you have such a big butt?” What do you do, start sharing the details of your weight loss struggles? Obviously not.
Refocusing 6-year-olds away from unnecessary discussions and towards arithmetic is what a kindergarten teacher does all day. The primary task of an adult who interacts with kids is to contain them and gradually teach them to contain themselves. You do it physically (picking up toys, wiping up messes, etc), emotionally (soothing, cajoling, pacifying, redirecting violent impulses) and intellectually (organizing the world into coherent, neat narratives). Gradually, they learn to do it themselves. They clean after themselves, dress themselves, use the toilet on their own, self-soothe, calm down, manage their friendships, and learn to tell stories that have a beginning and an end. Age-appropriate self-containment is THE measure of success of both parenting and early childhood education.
If a teacher allows herself to be sucked into every “Susie has 5 mommies” discussion, when does she teach? Even with adult students you constantly need to contain and refocus. To give an example, every time I work with a student on a research paper, I have to steer them away from unnecessary discussions of how they struggled with the reading and the writing and towards actual analysis. The first page of every essay is “this is how much I suffered reading this complicated book.” You can’t enter into that debate with them. Instead, you help them focus on what matters.
That this should even be explained is a sign that somebody really missed something big in Ms Psaki’s early childhood socialization.