Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm exhausted!

I’m exhausted! Working in a preschool is hard!

Before I delve too deep into my first 2 days of work, let me make sure everyone knows one very important piece of information…for the past 8 years I’ve worked in politics. I substitute taught at a Montessori Preschool for 2 weeks back in 2002, and I was a tutor in a 9th grade urban high school English class from 2000-2002, and I’ve kept the nursery at our church several times. However, none of these situations required me to plan organized activities. There were other people in charge and they just told me what to do.

Also of note, Ella is very low-maintenance when it comes to activities. She’s content doing puzzles or playing games, and she really plays pretty well by herself. The child could lie on the floor and color for hours without getting up. She doesn’t take a lot of planning and organized play to deal with.

Ok, so now to my first two days as the Music and Movement teacher…WOW…I was remarkably under-prepared. At the end of last year I went and observed the previous teacher, but I’ve come to discover that I should have observed for several weeks to make sure I had everything figured out. I spent days going over her notes with a fine tooth comb, and I talked to another teacher and asked her what she suggested…I was still very under-prepared.

The previous teachers notes had various songs written down, then she would say “obstacle course” or “tunnels, balance beam and trampoline.” Well, I had no idea what that all meant, so I just faked it. Yeah, that was my first mistake.

In a nutshell:

First, I didn’t plan enough songs for my one year old class. My 20 minute class was over in about 5 minutes. Mental note: plan twice as many songs as I think I’m going to need.

Second, a little kid who wasn’t feeling so hot threw up all over my classroom floor. Mental note: make sure I am fully stocked in Lysol spray, paper towels, latex gloves and Clorox wipes.

Third, I made the VERY incorrect assumption that if given free reign over a room with an obstacle course that the kids would take turns and be controlled. This worked great with the 2 year olds, but not so much for the older classes. Mental note: Any time given for free play can quickly get out of hand. Keep things controlled and organized.

Thank heavens for some wonderful teachers who helped me pull the day together without the kids fully realizing the extent of the chaos. My last class on Thursday was much more controlled…it could have been that it was because it was the oldest kids in the school, but I’ll choose to say it was because I had 4 classes before them to get prepared. Thursday night Ella was in bed by 8 pm and I was in bed by 8:30 pm. Today was MUCH better, and I have high hopes for next week. I'm starting to feel like I sort of know what's going on.

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