Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach preschool age kids? How about four-year-olds who’s first language is Spanish? Oh, these kids understand a little English now, but sometimes I feel like they just don’t want to pay attention.
Two weeks ago I was asked to fill in for the regular pre-k teacher and teach for a full morning. My first reaction was to throw a temper tantrum. With my semester’s experience of teaching these kids, I know how to throw a good one. But I decided to handle it like a man and see what I could learn.
Big surprise, all of the kids, not just the ones that who excel (a word used loosely here) in English, knew their classes’ daily routine. Routines are saviors for little kids. Early in my PE class I installed a routine. The pre-kers follow me out to the court. We walk on the wooden sandbox to work on balance, then hop around a set of stones that lead to the court, and finally we race to the center of the basketball court. At least that is the plan. If you can imagine the next part of the routine is even more chaotic. I try to lead them in stretches but they run around. Typically one of the little guys asks me if he can take off his jacket. This causes a chain reaction that ends in all the kids running-amuck, jacketless. On good days we follow our stretches with a bunch of different fun movements, like crawling like a bear, walking like a crab, and skipping. Then we try to play a game. My routine doesn’t always work that well, but I had hope their class routine would lead to an easy morning for me.
But, back to my adventure subbing their class. According to the child in charge of moving the Weather Clip it was a sunny day. As soon as he picked up the card with a radiantly smiling sun on it, the entire class shouted “SUNNY!” I think they were supposed to wait for me to ask what type of weather we were having. We didn’t make it that far, but we almost did. The rest of the day was filled with more almosts. We made it to chapel but I almost lost a kid. He decided to go to the bathroom for ten minutes. We made it to art and I almost didn’t pick them back up. Just kidding. They ate all their food during snack time and almost listened to me while I read them a story. Recess was fun, they almost emptied the sandbox. And finally during free time the boys almost destroyed the classroom. All of these almosts caused us to be late for their parents to pick them up. Yet, without their routines I think I would’ve almost died.
Teaching similingual kids can be fun because they kind of say really cute things. They have huge imaginations and they smile a lot. But I was exhausted by the end of the day. My friends kept asking if I was sick. It’s hard when you teach a class of kids who are all off in their own worlds most of the time. But, hey, they’re just little kids and I don’t think they should have to grow up too fast. I just hope I don’t have to sub for them again. That was a lot of work.