My first year of teaching has come and gone. I can't believe how fast the year went by (especially considering those weeks that I thought would never end!). I was so fortunate to find the job that I did. I learned SO much, met a lot of great people, and feel much more confident in my teaching skills. Here are some of the things that I learned this year that I know will stick with me forever:
-Set the expectations early. Since I was a first year teacher, the first week or two were definitely a little rocky. Now I know that you have to go in strong and you can ease up as the weeks go by. If not, the kids will be running the show before you know it!
-Don't underestimate their abilities. I was surprised and amazed so many times this year when the kids' did things that I didn't think they would be able to do. And to see their faces after they know they just accomplished something huge is priceless.
-Don't be be afraid to be a dork. My kids absolutely loved it when I acted dorky and I know they take more in when I'm being more eccentric and fun.
-Always remember that tomorrow is a new day. I definitely had days where I thought that I couldn't handle it anymore. Then the next day would be a breeze, kids were all listening and staying on task (quite the feat for a four-year-old). Some of my favorite moments were when I heard nothing, but looked around and saw all of these little people working hard and really enjoying school.
-Challenge your families. I had some very timid parents at the beginning of the year who just wanted to drop their kids off and pick their kids up and do nothing "extra." I continually challenged them to come in and volunteer, or go with us on a learning trip, and by the end of the year I had great parent involvement.
So, this is probably boring to all of you readers, but I wanted to jot a few things down so I won't forget. I had an amazing year, and I'm really looking forward to going back to work next year. I never pictured myself teaching pre-school, and I don't intend to teach this age group forever, but I keep telling myself that if I can handle pre-school then I can handle anything.
Oh, and my favorite quote from one of my little guys this year... this little boy was kind of wandering around the classroom aimlessly and I asked him what he was doing. His response, "Well, I'm just walking around seeing if I can get some attention." Anytime I was feeling overwhelemed with my job, I would try and remember that and it always brings a smile to my face.
This is a picture of us on "Red Day." On election day, we did our own voting, for much more important things than the President... for our favorite color. Red won. So we all wore red the next day.