Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful: as told through pictures

I am thankful for...

My parents. Because they love me always.

My brothers. Because they mean the world to me and we will always have a special relationship.

My sister in law. Because she really is like a sister to me.

My grandparents. Because they are devoted and have loved their families well.

My friends. Because they love me for me and understand me when no one else does.

Ralph. Because no matter what he will always hang out with me. And because he's cute.

Nashville. Because it is a wonderful city and it is where I call home.

A college degree. Because I can follow my dreams of being a teacher.

My cohort. Because we survived the College of Education together and through it became great friends.

Auburn University. Because it gave me 4 of the best years of my life, wonderful friendships, and a reason to love Saturdays in the fall.

Music. Because sometimes you need someone else to put into words what you're thinking.

Sonic. Because nothing is more of a comfort to me than a large Diet Happy Hour.

The sky. Because of the beautiful paintings that are often painted there and always being able to look up and be reminded of how big our God is.

The people of Peru. Because they forever changed my outlook on life.

Good health. Because those of us that have it tend to take it for granted. And because of it I am able to do things I love to do.

Faith. Because by it, I am saved.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 things I've learned (so far) in Pre-School

1. Wash your hands. A lot. This may be the most important lesson I've learned, the hardest way. I've always been told "You will get sick a lot your first year of teaching!" I kind of pride myself on my immune system. I rarely get sick, and if I do, I usually buck up and get over it fairly quick. Well, my immune system has officially slapped me in the face in the past few months since I started working. I have had repeated colds, sinus nonsense, a nasty cough, and this previous week I had pink not just one, but both of my eyes. All of that to say, hand sanitizer is basically running through my veins now.

2. Children think in a literal sense. Another lesson learned the hard way. I am a very sarcastic person. When teaching preschool, your sarcasm must be minimal...very minimal. I once called a little girl a "cutie bug". She started crying and told me she was not a bug, but a human. My intentions were never to hurt her feelings (actually the opposite), but that was the result. Another example: While examining seashells during Science, I explained to the children that if you hold a seashell to your ear you can hear the waves of the ocean. One little girl refused to participate and seemed frightened, on the verge of tears. "I don't want to get ocean water in my ear, please don't make me listen!"

3. Don't wear your favorite anything. This includes, but is not limited to: your favorite khakis, J.CREW sweater, pair of flats, shirt, get the picture. I speak from experience. I guarantee you the day you choose to wear your favorite ______, will also be the day that one of your precious students will plant their little paint stained hands on you, or the day that one of them busts their lip on the playground and runs to you (and your shirt) for a hug and a place to let the blood drip. Again, I speak from experience.

4. Getting 17 children to lay down, stop talking, and have "nap time" (simultaneously) in one classroom; is the one part of the day that I dread. I have come to terms with the fact that this is a skill I just may never acquire. Of the 3 months I have worked there, only once have I gotten all of them to go to sleep. Or maybe I fell asleep myself that day during nap time and I dreamt it.

5. Three year olds need incentive to do things. The word "incentive" can be exchanged at times for the word "bribery", but the first choice makes me sound like a better teacher. A simple mention of stickers, candy corn, or M&Ms and you immediately have their full attention.

6. Children have no filter. They will give it to you straight and tell you exactly how they feel/what they think. If you already feel like you're having a bad hair day, don't expect your spirits to be lifted when you walk in the classroom. You will most likely hear something along the lines of "Miss Maggie what happened to your hair?!". In hindsight, their nonexistent filter also elicits compliments and sweet words. "You're so pretty! You look nice today. I love you!" etc. etc. The compliments always trump the unintentional jabs.

7. To anyone else, the "castle" on the playground may just be a structure with a few slides and a tire swing. To a child, it can be anything from a space rocket to a royal castle where all the princesses live. And don't be fooled....a simple stick from the ground can be a sword, a comb, lipstick, or a wand.

8. If you are ever trying to convince children to eat vegetables, you will come up with really creative (and awful and cheesy) ways to get them to eat them. For example, to get my kids to eat broccoli, I tell them that they are like little trees and there are birds in those trees. They have to eat the little trees before the birds fly out!'ll never eat broccoli the same now, will you? You'd be surprised how quickly that broccoli gets eaten.

9. If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to press a button somewhere on my body and the result be multiple arms. It really would solve a lot of problems; opening juiceboxes, sharpening pencils, tying shoes, patching boo-boos, wiping noses, giving hugs, patting backs...just to name a few.

10. "Patience is a virtue". Those words have never rung more true. People always told me "you must have a lot of patience to want to teach!" I know I have been gifted with patience, and have a passion for working with children; but if anything has tested my patience it has been managing 17 three year olds on a day to day basis. But in a weird way...I love it. It has only confirmed my desire even more to be a teacher. I have to think...that sometimes they have to be patient with me just as much as I have to be with them.

We're all learning here. As you can see I've already taken away 10 very valuable lessons from them.