This blog is dedicated to books, but a big part of my future plan involves reading and teaching, and the children in my life are a big influence when it comes to a lot of the literature that I read. I was lucky to have some really great teachers throughout my life, and as I'm preparing to pursue a career as a teacher I've spent more time reflecting on the different lessons that they've taught me about being a great role model in my own classroom.
While it certainly would have been nice to jet off somewhere warm for my Spring Break (and I wouldn't have refused a trip if one had been offered...) I just finished up a week as a substitute in a preschool classroom and...I'm so sad that I'm not going back on Monday. I already miss them.
I spent the week with twenty 4 and 5 year-olds, and I had a blast. It was exhausting, chaotic, and exactly what I needed to reinforce my dream of being a teacher.
Here are some thoughts to sum up the week:
- Preschool children have so.much.energy. I am "the young one" when it comes to teachers in that school, and yet I was probably the most tired at the end of the day. Think Starbucks lattes every morning and not moving from the couch as soon as I got home. Holy moly.
- Children say the funniest things, and this week I laughed harder than I have in months. I'm not sure I'm allowed to repeat anything that they said (legally) but I had so much fun eavesdropping on their conversations. Oh, and their giggles? So stinkin' cute. Not to mention their little squeaky voices and adorable clothing and complete reverence for their parents. I loved seeing them greet their moms, dads, grandpas, and grandmas at the end of the day. Those squeals of excitement and hugs and kisses were so genuine, it almost gave me baby fever. (Not that I haven't had baby fever since I was four, but still let's return to this subject in at least 7 years.)
- I definitely need to teach a grade in which children are allowed to go to the bathroom on their own. I took at least 10 bathroom trips a day and I am so tired of being in those bathrooms. Although I am glad I wasn't changing diapers, that's for sure.
- It's so important to approach each child as an individual, rather than a stereotype of their age or friend group. Throughout the week I saw each of them shine in their own way, and I wish I was going to be there to witness more of their growth this year.
- The more time you spend with children, the easier it is to access your own imagination. I was less engaged in their imaginative play on my first day, but this afternoon I found myself jumping into their games and coming up with the wackiest, most random ideas to keep our play going. I saw a child simply tapping on a wall with a plastic trowel today during recess and exclaimed, "Oh thank goodness you're here fixing that brick wall, it's been falling apart all year and I'm afraid all of the birds will start nesting in the holes soon!"The wall was not in disrepair, but my little friend was totally into it and spent the next ten minutes patching up the wall and shooing away the aforementioned birds, and it was totally entertaining for both of us.
At the end of the week, I can say that I cleaned up countless globs of glue and scraps of paper, spent more time repeating my own directions than having them followed, made lots of new friends, was turned down by the most gorgeous little boy when I asked him to be my boyfriend (he said maybe when he's a teenager by the way, so it's not a total loss), spent a lot of time strategically choosing my line leader, learned so many new techniques/phrases/skills from the other teachers, fell in love with more than a few children (and thought about trying to take them home with me), and now feel a total sense of despair that I still have a few more years until I can be in my own classroom.
Overall, I think it was a pretty great week.