Monday, March 12, 2012

A day in the kindergarten classroom...

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend an entire day teaching in a Kindergarten class. Our regular Kindergarten teacher was away that day and the District had run out of Teachers on Call for the I was pressed into duty!

Undaunted, I entered the classroom and let the students in, all of whom were eagerly waiting outside the door. Things started out incredibly well!

The Kindergarten teacher had left a very detailed plan and had everything organized for the day. We started the day with noisy reading where parents joined students on the carpet for some group reading. Imagine a noisy, active and engaged room where adults are reading to children and children are pointing out details to adults. It was great!

Once the parents left, the students and I gathered at the calendar area to get our first activity of the day started. This was the day AFTER 100’s day and the students were still pretty excited.
I had to speak to two students and ask them both to sit away from the group for a while - one cried.
We read some stories. We finished our “crowns” and we all worked on finishing 100’s day activities from the day before. The students had a great time with our Music Teacher and we had fun playing games during P.E. It was easy to see how these little five year-olds were learning every minute of the day - there was academic learning, social learning and emotional learning going on constantly!

I’ve never received so many hugs! In five short hours I experienced, through the students: laughter, tears, anger, joy, curiosity, frustration and love. The highlight of my day was when that little boy, who, at the start of the day was asked to sit away from the group, came up to me and gave me a huge hug. He was able to pull himself together as the day went along and, in retrospect, had a GREAT day!!

Why am I blogging about this? Well...perhaps because I believe that I learned more than they did on that day!. My experience serves as a great reminder of how resilient children are and how much they WANT to learn every day! (I'm not confident that I would have been able to pull myself together the way that one little boy did). It also showed me the importance of building relationships with students - the more I got to know them and care for them...the more they seemed to care as well. 

I was exhausted at the end of the day...which also is a good reminder of how hard teachers work every day in increasingly complex environments.

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