The Life and Times of a Kindergarten Teacher
You might remember that way back in August I mentioned on here that I'd accepted a temporary position as a kindergarten teacher. Then you might also remember that, immediately following that announcement, I seemed to fall off the face of the earth. In case you didn't pick up on that, those two are very directly connected. But I'm here now to give you a little peek into my hectic and wonderful life as a teacher.
Lots of people said to me, as soon as I told them of my plans, that it would be so much fun and I'd get to play with them all day. Well, it's a lot of fun, teaching kindergarten, and probably the most rewarding job I've ever had. It's also the most frustrating, sometimes exasperating, and always exhausting job I've ever encountered. Kindergarten as it is now is not a fun-filled day of playing games with my five year old friends. It's six and a half hours of teaching these little ones everything from their letters (I only have three students who can read out of twenty three) to how to line up in the hallway.
There are a lot of misconceptions that these kids are just learning social skills and how to read. I wish. We are learning how readers look for things they know, how to retell a story, and how to pick a topic and then write about it. Did I mention that most of these kiddos can't read? I try to integrate some creative play in each lesson and free choice play at the end of the day but each day is packed to the brim with learning.
In the past two months, I've realized that it's hard to be five. Even the most enthusiastic student gets bogged down by the "missing mommy" blues and there are a lot of hurt feelings and bumps and bruises throughout our day. It's also hard to conform to a long and packed day whether you went to preschool or not. I give these kids kudos for getting up every morning and being bright and happy (for the most part) as I bombard them with a new skill every half hour.
Despite the challenges, I wouldn't trade my job for anything. I love getting up in the morning, getting to school and prepping my room for the day then getting to stand at the door and welcoming them in. Each hour there's a new challenge and I'm getting to learn so much about these little kids. At the end of the day, behind the exhaustion, there's a feeling that I did something today. I don't know if I make an impact on them every day but thinking that maybe, if not now, in the future, they'll remember something about their kindergarten year.