Even though I knew better, I still had this idea in my head that I was going to be able to go home at four o’clock everyday and have the afternoon to myself. I envisioned being prepared and ready for each days lessons and that I would have it all figured out. I pictured the students responding like perfect students and giving me their full attention during circle time. Today was a crazy day at preschool and I am now back to reality of what this semester is really going to look like. It is going to be a learning process, a time of growth in my knowledge and skills of teaching.
I have a very diverse bunch of students in my classroom and each of them have different needs. They all have very different stories and backgrounds. But they do have one thing in common; they all need to be loved. As a teacher, I want to show my students that they are loved by caring about them and building a relationship with them. I have learned that many of my students come from a single parent household and all of them are from low-income families.
Here are some of the realizations that I have come to in my teaching experience:
Preschool is not a daycare. Many people may view preschool teachers as babysitters and feel that their job must be easy to watch kids play all day. I now realize all the work that preschool teachers do. We don’t even have students on Fridays, which I thought was going to be a bonus and super easy day. Friday was incredibly busy for us and we still weren’t done with everything by four o’clock. The day was filled with meetings, planning, preparation, and organizing the classroom. A full day of preschoool with the students takes a lot of energy, structure, and routine. Already in preschool, the students are learning math, literacy, art, science, social studies, and language. Preschool is the foundation of the children’s education. Teachers are constantly recording the GOLD assessments, keeping up the students portfolios, and tracking progress.
Preschoolers need routine and structure. Today, the whole school watched “Happy Feet” in the gym. It was supposed to be a special day and I had the expectation that it was going to be easy. Actually, I would be ok if we never had a movie day again. It threw the whole schedule off and the students didn’t react well to the change. They were bouncing off the walls all day and it was just a very ‘off’ day for all of the students. Also, I have noticed that logistics and details are very important in preschool. Such as, what will the students do when they are done with snack? How long is this activity actually going to take?
Plan meaningful activities. When planning activities for preschoolers, you need to ask yourself if they are developmentally appropriate. Also, what will the students be learning? What kinds of support will they need to do the activity? That is one thing that I need to work on; choosing activities that the students can do independently but still be challenged. I don’t want to be stuck doing the whole project or game for them because it is not developmentally appropriate.