One Sunflower

rumors

on August 14, 2012

“I hear ________ is going to be in your class next year, good luck!”

Sometimes I hear this in May, sometimes not until July or August, but I can guarantee that at some point between one school year and the next, someone will say these words to me about a child coming into my classroom. You know the kind of kid this sentence references: a child who requires extra attention.  Often I hear words like these from the teachers of the birth-to-three class or the special ed teacher because a challenging student of theirs in graduating into my class.  Occasionally I hear this kind of comment from a teacher or neighbor who is acquainted with a sibling or family of one of my new students.  Whatever the source and whatever challenges the speaker might have in mind, the words are a reminder to me to be prepared for all of my students.

This fall, I only have three returning students to my class of seventeen. While half of my students are usually four-year-olds,  it looks like I am going to have more three-year-olds than usual.   This means I might have children who are only recently potty trained or not at all. There might be other self-care issues my students lack practice in such as putting on coats and shoes and feeding oneself with utensils.  For some children, this might be their first experience away from their parents or playing in a group. I usually have about 80% who don’t have English as their home language.   Preschool can be an overwhelming and bewildering experience.

Warning received, reminder acknowledged…..now to brass tacks.

I need to plan for first days and weeks that allow my aide and I to be available to comfort, clothe and feed as well as take more time in the bathroom.  We’ll need to provide for pressure free transitions as we move from bus to cafeteria to classroom and allow for lots of lap time.  I need to think carefully about word choice and the length of my sentences when giving instructions.  I need to speak slowly.  I need to smile and laugh and touch.

Of course there will also be those students who are ready and eager for everything preschool has to offer; I want to plan for them too, creating a routine with clear and reasonable expectations,  plenty of opportunities to explore and play, fostering intimacy so we get to know each other. There are plans I can put on paper, but mostly there is an awareness I need to keep alive in my head, my heart, and my hands, to fully support all my students as they begin or return to preschool.

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13 responses to “rumors

  1. You are so right on! Much of this is so instinctive and automatic to us now, as “seasoned” preschool teachers; I love that you wrote “mostly there is an awareness I need to keep alive in my head, my heart, and my hands.” You are so lucky to teach a mixed-age class – I think it is wonderful for those threes to have slightly older models to look up to, and vice versa. Too bad you won’t have as much of a mix of ages this year. I love how my friend puts it, “We need to teach the children we have, not the ones we wish we had.” Happy start of the school year!!

  2. “There are plans I can put on paper, but mostly there is an awareness I need to keep alive in my head, my heart, and my hands…” My favorite line, too. This is what I am remembering for this year of my [not-a-teacher] life. I suppose it is what we all need to remember no matter what we do in life. Sketchy plans; lotta heart.

  3. Your piece is an exciting one. Our preschool room is going to be right near mine tomorrow! I can’t wait to meet the sweeties. xo nanc

  4. Margie says:

    What a refreshing frame your attitude is!
    That ‘warning’ was one I always pushed back against as it so often came with a ‘watch out’ or a ‘good luck with that one’ slant. I wanted to shout, Just let me experience the wonder of this kid with no prior biases! As always, I love your thinking!

  5. pamelahodges says:

    To fully support all of my students.
    Bravo.
    With your head, heart, and hands.
    Well said.

  6. Wow – sounds scary for me too! Seventeen wee little ones!?! But with you by their side, everything will be all good. 🙂 I give you all the praise and blessings. You are awesome and you will make a difference with your head, heart and hands!

  7. Juliann says:

    What a fortunate group of students coming into your room!

  8. I have just printed that final line out for my notebook, Amelia. Your slice lets us all know what is valuable in our teaching, at any age. Thanks!

  9. luckygurl says:

    Oh, wow. You really got me at the end. “There are plans I can put on paper, but mostly there is an awareness I need to keep alive in my head, my heart, and my hands, to fully support all my students…”. Beautifully put. Your students will be lucky to have such mindful presence… Mind if I quote you to our teachers as we start next week?

  10. Lynnelle says:

    Have a wonderful year!!!

  11. kiri8 says:

    I thought of this post when a teacher commented the same thing to me this morning! It’s good to remember not to have preconceived notions about kids. Sometimes kids do better for us than they did for the teacher last year, anyway! :o)

  12. Terje says:

    Smile, laugh and touch. Not letting the remarks of others get to you, considering the different needs, making sure you’re attending to what matters the most at first – love is what you are giving these kids. I hope that you will have a wonderful year.

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