Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is It....The Last Day of Summer

Before I start, let me just put some minds to ease.  If you read my post from yesterday, and are now wondering what happened to it - I took it down.  It wasn't because of what anybody said in the comments.  I just had a niggly feeling all day after it being there, and I just couldn't shake that feeling.  I thought it to be in my best interests to take it down.  It had served it's purpose, I got some great feedback, and now I can move on.

So, it's Sunday.  Not just any Sunday, though... it's the last Sunday before I step out into the world of going to work.  Even though there will be no children or classroom for a while.... I have lots of training and meetings to get under my belt.

I'm nervous.  I'm scared.  I'm nervous...wait, I already said that.  I am, though...really nervous and scared.  It's so hard starting a new job when I haven't met anyone that I'm going to be working with...not even my new boss!!  I was hired by the head office, and still have yet to speak to the director of the building I've been assigned to.

I wish I could be more excited than I am... but maybe that will come once I actually get in there and start working.  My head is still frazzled and fried from recent events - and my dreams at night are still filled with welcoming students into a classroom (like at a 3rd grade level). 

One thing that it's no use in denying - Pre-K scares the heeby jeebies out of me.  Anyone that knows me personally, or has been reading my blog since I was in school knows my feelings on this grade level.  I'm not against it - I don't hate just scares me and I have never thought of myself as "Pre-K teacher material".  People that know me or have worked with me would also probably agree.

My teaching style has a lot to do with that.  I'm a tough cookie.  Firm but fair.  I try to instill organization and cooperation into my students...not sure how that's going to fly with 3 year olds.  Wait, yes I won't fly. 

Three year olds live in their own little bubbles.  In their minds, the world revolves around them.  They need freedom, and choice, and to be reassured every 3 minutes that everything is OK and just because little Johnny wants to play with the same toys doesn't mean that Johnny is trying to steal the toy and that two kids can play together nicely and hitting is not the answer to solving problems - and neither is crying.

Yep - I'm petrified.

I spent the last four years writing lesson plans and preparing classroom management ideas and coming up with units for a classroom for kids aged between 5 and 8.  That's not even including the plans that I had to do for college classes - it was something I did in my spare time.  It was a hobby. 

Now, I feel lost and clueless. 

If you could see my home office right now, you'd see what my life is like outside of school.  My desk is full of student work given to me during my internship.  I have letters from students, and pictures of them.  I have a stack of teacher resource books with cute color coded sticky labels that I've prepared over the summer.  I'm surrounded by bookshelves full to the brim of books recommended for any classroom K-4.  I have file boxes neatly organized into grade level and subject.  I have bulletin board displays organized and stuffed behind any flat surface that will hold them.  I still have stuff in the trunk of my car, yet to be sorted... because I'm just running out of room.

But all of that stuff will stay there, for yet another year.  Maybe not the stuff in the trunk, pretty sure Hubby would have a problem with that stuff staying there for a year.

I know, this doesn't exactly sound all cheery and excited, does it?

I'm not trying to sound gloomy - just being honest.  I know who I am as a teacher.  I'm pretty sure I scared the living crap out of my students the first few weeks I was with them in my internship placements... but you know what?  I'm pretty sure that at the end of each of my placements - they all loved me as much as I loved them.  I know that because there were tears when I had to leave.  There was anger when I had to leave (not from me).  There were letters upon letters about how much they would miss me and how much they enjoyed me teaching them.  I was tough, but those sweet kiddos realized what I was doing, they understood my actions, they grew to respect it and embrace it.

I'm sure that teaching Pre-K will be the hardest thing I've ever done.  I'm going to have to abandon everything I know about myself and mold myself into something different.  It's a step I'm willing to take - but I don't want to lose the me that I'm comfortable with.  I will be the best Pre-K teacher I can be.  I will try everything in my power to support those little ones, help them, and guide them. 

Like always, I will put in my best effort.  However, I'm not going to pretend that I will give up on wanting to be in an elementary school.  I'm sure I'll still dream about it every night.  I'm sure I'll still find myself planning lessons and activities for a higher age group in my spare time. 

Until that day comes, however, starting tomorrow I become a Pre-K teacher.  I am ready for the challenge.

Till next time. ;)
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  1. I think that once you get into a groove you will fall in love with it. Just think how good it will look on your resume? You'll have a leg up on all those teachers with no experience! Good luck!

  2. Wow, it does sound like you really do know yourself as a teacher and I can see why this grade level scares you. You sound like such a good teacher!

    You'll do great, though. Your structured and organized approach will keep you sane in a sea of movement and chaos! And hold unto all those binders, as I am sure you will. I know that feeling of fear just before the school year starts! But you will kick it. Have a heck of a day!!

  3. Thanks, ladies!!

    Prairie, it's weird, I've actually been told that there's no way of knowing myself as a teacher after only one year of student teaching.. but I kind of disagree. I'm pretty set in my ways - and I use my personality to fuel my teaching style, it's just who I am. It's in my blood.

    I'm confident there's room for growth, however, maybe becoming a little more flexible in my ways rather than changing them completely.

    Thanks again for the nice words!!

  4. I'm going to be honest here, so I hope you don't mind my opinion. I understand that you long for a certain grade level and can hope and prepare for it one day. But I actually wanted to work with kindergarten or first grade when I started out...and the job I got was half day high school and half day middle school when I started, then full time high school, then settling in full time middle school. I never thought in a million years that I would love the older students as much as I did--but I did. When I do return to work (when mine are a little older), I do plan to apply for middle school jobs--and I never thought I would say that.

    I understand that you are scared, but you are helping to build a foundation for these little ones...and are quite possibly the first experience they have with school. It may not be the age group you want, but you are gaining experience with it as well.

    Try to enjoy the experience and learn from it...I can understand wanting a different postion, but there is a reason that you have this job now. :) Try to find the joy in it. :)

    Good luck!

  5. Practical advice:

    Room arrangement can prevent 80% of behavior problems.
    Tell the child what you want him to do (ex: Use your indoor voice; shouting hurts my ears. Instead of telling the child not to shout.)
    Avoid labeling children negatively -- self-fulfilling prophecy is real.
    Give attention for appropriate behavior.

    You can still be the teacher you are in your heart. It's all about developmental appropriateness, right? Hold yourself up high and be proud proud proud! If you look down on yourself because you are something other than a 3rd grade teacher , the other teachers in the center will feel it. The children will feel it.

    OK, that's it for practical advice.

    And I have no impractical advice!

  6. Rachel - Thank you for the honest feedback!! I know that fear is my biggest obstacle right now, and I have no doubt that I will be able to overcome that fear.

    Cathy - Thanks for the advice!! I plan on being the best I can be - and go into this position with my teacher hat on.

    Even though I come across as being extremely skeptical and gloomy - I have no intentions of portraying that to my students or co-workers.

    I remember not wanting to be in kindergarten - but I made sure I took the placement as a challenge...and one I feel I did a great job overcoming. I made sure to enjoy myself and be the best teacher for those kiddos.

    I have every intention of doing the same for my Pre-K kiddos.

    Love the feedback ladies!! You have no idea how much it helps. :)


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