Hey Guys! If you’re a returning reader, welcome back! If you’re a new reader, welcome! I haven’t written in over 6 months and honestly, I’ve missed the creative outlet that blogging provided me with. Today, I’m going to talk about something I’ve never written a full dedicated post about and that is my job. A little background on what I do, I am a Site Director for a before and after school care program and I am a Assistant Teacher in a Kindergarten Enrichment program. This was my first year teaching in the classroom, that in and of itself comes with a boatload of lessons to learn. Throw in a global pandemic and that’s a whole new ball game that no one knows how to navigate.
Teaching kindergarten is hard, it’s incredibly rewarding but hard none the less. I was actually at an advantage because, our program didn’t have a state/country regulated curriculum. These lessons that I learned during my first year can help fellow educators, people new to the field, parents. Honestly most of these lessons are valuable to everyone and anyone. These are the top three lessons I learned during my first year of teaching kindergarten.
Go With The Follow, If Kindergarten Can, So Can We
I had some reservations when I started this school year, I couldn’t imagine a 5 year old going to school all day long with a mask on. I couldn’t picture a classroom of students all playing by themselves because of social distancing. It went against everything I knew to think about telling children that “No, I’m sorry but you can’t share toys with each other.” Each one of those scenarios happened but, my students were understanding about it. They understood that they had to keep their mask on. They respected the rules even if parents handled things differently at home. When new safety guidelines were implemented, they never questioned us.
I would constantly catch myself thinking about how well these kids handled everything thrown at them. How was it that these children were handling remote learning, mask wearing and social distancing better than most adults? My students would talk about how we have to wear the masks so that we don’t get anyone sick. If my class of 5 year olds can let all these changes roll off their backs, why couldn’t I? Why can’t we all? I don’t just mean in terms of the pandemic, I mean in all aspects of life. If this year has taught us anything it’s that things can change at the drop of a hat. If young children can adapt this seamlessly then those of us with fully developed frontal lobes can too.
Hold On To Your Innocence
My favorite part about working with young children is that, I get to act like a child again. I obviously have to still be responsible &mature enough to teach and discipline but, I also need to interact with them on their level. I needed to be able to revert back to the thought process of a child that age to create the classroom atmosphere my coworker and I wanted. A good teacher wants their students to feel heard and cared for. They aren’t going to feel that if you come in with your “grown up reality” hat on and tell them the tooth fairy isn’t real. (Because she is 100% real.)
Seeing their imaginations work while out at recess or during a project made me realize how much society squashed your innocence. Sometimes there’s no way around it and you are forced to deal with the harsh realities of the world. Other times it’s TV, media, parents, peers, or all these factors wrapped into one thats forcing us to grow up too quickly. I’m not saying being a kindergarten teacher means you live in lala land. We get the opportunity to change our view on the world, even if it’s just while we’re in the classroom. I will always love being invited to the princesses castle which is really just the top of the slide. I encourage you to visit that part of your mind that thinks like a child, I think you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve missed it.
Home & School, It’s A Group Effort
As I’ve previously mentioned, this was my first year in a teaching role. I didn’t go to college for being a teacher, I was going in essentially blind. I was completely unaware of the range in skill levels I was about to be handling. Thankfully, I work with one of the best lead teachers and learned about developmental norms for this age. The biggest take away I learned is that, parents MUST be present. A lot of the skilled covered in Kindergarten require constant practice. Things like their numbers and letters utilizes their muscle memory and needs to be practiced outside of the classroom.
Building upon lessons taught in school will only benefit the child. One activity we would do first thing in the morning is practice writing our numbers. On a blank paper write out 1-10 and have the child write each number as many times as they can. Have them re-do any numbers written backwards. If the child needs, you can dot out the number and have them trace it. Another helpful activity to do at home is, sight word recognition. Have your child pick out a early readers book, then have them go through and write down all the words they know. This will help them in their reading, writing and spelling. As a parent, you can access activities on pintrest or teachers pay teachers. Understanding the connection between home & school will make the learning process better for everyone involved.
Overall, my first year teaching has taught me more than I ever imagined it would. Most importantly it’s taught me to find a job that you love. Life is far too short to not do something that you love. Are you a teacher? Do you have kids of your own? If so what have they taught you? What important lessons has your career taught you? Please let me know in the comments, I love interacting with you all. Thanks for stopping by, until next time…
Be Nice. Be Good