Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

One of the biggest changes I endured in making the switch from kindergarten to preschool is the absence of a long Christmas break! I didn't even get Christmas eve off this year because it fell on a Monday. And tomorrow, I go back to work.  Now most of my students have had a four day weekend with families, obscene amounts of sugar, new toys and very little amounts of sleep! In short, tomorrow is going to be hell!! The question is, how will I deal with twelve very grumpy, sleep deprived, sugar crashing three, four and five year olds? Well, since partaking of liquor is frowned upon during school hours, I will just have to put my happy pants on and make the best of it. After years of dealing with the week after Christmas vacation, I know exactly what to expect and what not to expect on the day after Christmas break or in my case, day off!

What to expect...
  • Toys From Home: Now, even though my preschool may has a "no toys from home" policy, I will not be surprised to see that at least half of my students will bring in at least one toy they got from Santa. Leading to them wanting to play with them during play time. I will gently explain to them why it is not a good idea and reminding them of the "no toys from home" rule. To which I will get the response, "But my mom said I could!" And right there I have lost the battle because, I can't go against mom! So I pull out the no fail idea that I often use in a situation like this. I get right down in the students face and in my most secretive voice I say, "Oh Jenny, that sure is a beautiful toy, you must really love it a lot!" Jenny nods sweetly. Then I say, "I bet you would be sad if something happened to it." Jenny nods again. "Well then you should let me take toy to the office where it can be safe. I wouldn't want one of your friends to try to hurt it!" I promise it works!
  • Crying: As I said above, my students will come back to school overtired and nursing a sugar hangover causing them to be very sensitive. So I need to definitely pull on my both my patient pants and my sympathy pants. Lots of hugs and good set of listening ears will be necessary here. *This is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with my students.
    "But my mom said I could bring it to school!"

 What not to expect...
  •  Getting anything accomplished: I have lesson plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week, but I am pretty sure that I will not get through anything I have planned. And I am alright with that. The kids will dictate how the day goes, I will offer them the activities I have planned but I will not expect them to participate. I will also not expect to have an official circle time, choosing rather to invite them to listen to a story if they want to. There will be, weather allowing, lots of outside play!
I will follow our daily schedule in that everything will happen in the same order as it always does, but the overall theme of the day will be  Free Play! Most importantly, I know my attitude will set the tone for the day so I will claim the quote "It doesn't matter if you feel it, make them feel it!" Meaning that even though I may be wishing I was on a week long break, I will not show it. I will make my students feel like I want to be at school. That I am happy to be at school and hopefully if I am good enough they, too, will be happy to be at school and have good day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Teacher's Love.....

We are familiar with the concept of a parents love...the unconditional, often blind, everlasting love that only a parent can have for their child. As teachers we are often expected to have a similar love for our students, blind and unconditional. However, unlike the parents whose genetics made the child who they are, a teachers love is a conscious choice. A choice that isn't always easy. Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is there are students that will come into our lives as teachers that are easy to love and those that are...not so easy. Every teacher knows and has had that child. That child whom, you swear to God, makes it their daily mission to make you lose your freaking mind. In college we learn how to teach children how to read or how to help them grow socially and emotionally. What we are not taught is how to love the child that we, have to remind five hundred times a day that hands are not for hitting, or the one that says "No!" to everything. We are not taught how to love the one that smells and is very neglected. The one that you know needs as many hugs as you can give them but you have to hold your breath in order to do so.
So the question is...how do you love this child? How do you love the unlovable? You know this child needs love the most but you can't figure out how to give it to them because this is the child who pushes all your buttons and frankly irritates the hell out of you. The truth is that I don't know how. After nearly seven years in education, I'm ashamed to admit that I still struggle with this daily. The best advice that I have ever received on the subject is this: find one thing about that child that you do like. Maybe its their hair or their artistic ability, but focus on that quality and compliment them on it every day. Start looking for other strengths because they do have them, they always have, they were just overshadowed by their challenging factors. Your feelings will not change overnight, but gradually you will see the child as they truly are and not as you defined them.
A teacher's love is special! And although it is often not blind or unconditional, it is life changing. New studies say that the relationship between a four year old and their teacher can determine things such as, whether or not the child will graduate from high school, or whether or not the child will be in a jail. Our love for our students sets the basis for our relationship with them and our relationship with them determines their success in life. WOW! Talk about pressure. The President may carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, but teachers carry the future of the world on theirs. This, too, is something they don't teach us in college.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Posting With Purpose

My purpose for this blog is two-fold. First, I wanted a place to share the hilarious things that see, hear and learn everyday as a preschool teacher. And second, I wanted a place to discuss the challenges and rewards of being apart of one of the most important professions in society today.

Everyday, my wonderful co-teacher and I spend our days planning open-ended art activities, find cooking and sensory activities that are peanut,dairy and gluten free. We also clean up pee and puke, and are constantly asking children to "Please, take your hands out of your pants!" We hear our names yelled and wined at least two hundred and fifty-three times a day (just an estimate) There are days we go home and cry and/or drink. There are times when we go home and frantically search the classifieds for a new job, wondering why the hell we didn't major in data entry or truck driving, but everyday we come back to our classroom and give our best to our students because they need us. For some children, we are the only constant in their life. For some we give the only hug or smile they will receive that day. And for most we are simply the first teacher they will have. I have wonderful memories of my first teacher, I want my students to have wonderful memories of me.

Yes, teachers are underpaid, under appreciated and over-qualified, but we did not spend years building our portfolios and going into loan debt for the money and accolades. We do it because we want to make a difference. Cliche? Maybe, but if you saw my paycheck you would see that its definitely not the money.

So, why do I teach preschool? Follow my blog and find out!