On Monday, February 28th, I started my last internship placement in Kindergarten.
I have completed 9 weeks in 1st grade, 18 weeks in 2nd grade...and now the last leg of my journey finishes me off in the sweet clutches of a kindergarten classroom.
I will be honest - cause that's how I roll...
For 27 weeks I have feared the day I would step into a K classroom.
I know what you're thinking....why on earth would I fear walking in to a classroom filled with the most adorable, cute, sweet faces of twenty-two 5 year olds?
Well, because the classroom is filled with the most adorable, cute, sweet faces of twenty-two 5 year olds.
One thing I have discovered about myself during my three years of performing classroom observations, practicums, and my internship placements is that I'm a....urm...well....pretty strict teacher.
Try not to imagine that teacher from when you were a child - ruler in hand, ready to swipe knuckles with an incorrect response. Not that kind of strict.
I like order - to a point - but I also like to have fun.
I like to give students choices. Help them understand why getting an education is important. Find out how I can connect their learning to the real-world...give it meaning. Challenge them to not just be "good enough" but be the best they can be...and achieve things they never thought possible.
I really discovered this in my 2nd grade placement. I had to get tough on occasions - but the end results made it worth it.
So, I know what you're thinking....why would any of that affect me in a kindergarten classroom?
I will tell you why....because I don't WANT to get tough with 5 year olds.
They are 5. Their whole world revolves around themselves...that's all they know...it's normal.
Now that I'm almost two weeks in to this placement - I'm getting worried.
The "I need order" part of me is kicking in to overdrive.
I want them to sit still on the carpet. I want them to not copy their partner's work. I want them to try hard. I want them to not tattle. I want them to not be mean to their classmates. I want them all to get along - respect each other. I want them to really think about the questions that are being asked, instead of sitting there and waiting for others to respond.
Then I realize - they are five!!
Am I expecting too much? Yes, I think so. How do I break myself from this? I don't know.
Thank goodness I got the mentor that I did.
She's so supportive - and I feel like I can talk to her about my problems. She has great advice - can I follow it? That will be the challenge.
I need to work on my patience. I need to remind myself over and over and over...they are five!!
I should be having fun with them - guiding them to think things through - helping them however I can - giving them Independence to make mistakes......I must swallow my "strict" mentality for the next 7 weeks and learn to loosen up.
It won't be easy - I know that - but I have to try. These kids don't need someone coming in to their classroom making new rules and ordering them around. They have a wonderful teacher that has already instilled the rules they need to follow - and she does an amazing job of controlling them...that's not my job. It's my job to come in and learn about kindergarten.
So, I think it's time I start searching for my patience. Start following the same rules I instilled into the second graders.... count to 10, think about the choice being made, think positive. This is the first year of their schooling - I don't want it to be scary...it's supposed to be fun.
Time for me to put my Tooty Ta skirt on - start singing, dancing, and acting a little silly. I can do it...I can do it....I CAN DO IT!!