This school year has gotten off to a shakey start, to say the least! My position has not changed with the merger of the two schools, although how I deliver services HAS changed. No more pull-outs for the Gifted/Talented program, no more giant classroom to call my own. Instead I am working on a rotational schedule (every ten days), working with students directly in their classes. This means I will be working in all 30+ classrooms at different times throughout the year. I have delivered services this way in the past and it is no big deal but I honestly think I get more accomplished and get to spend more time with my G/T kids when I can pull all from each grade together at one time.
The biggest change to my job this year (and definitely the most challenging!!!) is that I am now in the Specialist rotation for kindergarten and 1st grade. Our teaching contract gives all teachers a 50 minute preparatory period each day, so during this time the students rotate through our specialists: Science, technology, music, phy ed, and G/T. Our school needed an extra specialist to cover two periods each afternoon and lucky me (not!) was appointed the job.
I knew teaching kindergarten was a very special job for a very special person but I HAD NO IDEA just how tough it is until I had to experience it on my own!!!! Especially the first few weeks of school. MANY of our students have never been to school before in their life! No preschool, nothing. They have no idea what to do!!!! And they are all in kindergarten full-time, all day long, every single day.
Want a peak into what 50 minutes of my day looks like at work??
12:15 Go to kindergarten class #1. Spend 5 minutes trying to get their attention as 6 little ones all need to go to the bathroom and another 14 who need drinks. Successfully get the attention of all but maybe 2-3. Remind them how good listeners sit, and model it for them. Try to start a story while Three (or maybe seven?) students roll around on the floor, complaining how tired they are. Remind them again how to sit criss-cross applesauce with their hands in their lap or on their knees. Stop story to move a couple of students. Read a few more lines. Stop story to remind students we need to face the teacher and that we cannot talk to our friends during story time. Read a few more lines. Stop story to tell a student that it is not okay to bite others. Or pull their hair. Remind students how to sit up. Check the clock. Read a few more lines. Stop story a few hundred more times.
12:38 Half way done! Exhausted yet?? Time to switch classes (we do this only with kindergarten because they are too squirrelly to sit for 50 minutes straight). Have kindergarten students in class #1 line up. Model what standing in line looks like. Check bathroom really quick to make sure I didn’t leave any kids behind. Make our way down the hall. Stop three or four times in 50 feet to show students what walking in a line should look like. Meet kindergarten class #2 on the stairwell, music teacher and I make the switch.
12:43 Begin the process of walking kindergarten class #2 back to their room. Stop 100 times to get students back in line, or detach them from hanging on the stair railing. Console crying child.
12:45 Finally make it into room of class #2. Show students how to sit and be a good listener. No less than six students are wanting to use the one bathroom all at one time. Stop a few fights about who is next for the bathroom, then make sure there aren’t kids out in the hall getting a drink. Try to start story. Remind them again how to sit criss-cross applesauce with their hands in their lap or on their knees. Stop story to move a couple of students. Read a few more lines. Stop story to remind students we need to face the teacher and that we cannot talk to our friends during story time. Read a few more lines. Stop story to tell a student that it is not okay to bite others. Or pull their hair. Remind students how to sit up. Check the clock. Read a few more lines. Stop story a few hundred more times.
1:05 Kindergarten teacher #2 comes back to class and I run as fast as I can to get out of there! LOL
Seriously! Will I survive this?? It isn’t like I haven’t ever worked with kindergarten before, (testing these kids in December for G/T is a nightmare!!) but I usually only start working with them in MARCH (besides testing) and only with the handful of kids that are identified G/T. Whole different ballgame there!
Would love to hear from anyone who has taught kindergarten or preschool……… what tricks can I use?? (Besides a special clock to speed up time!). Books kids this age love to hear for story time? If you have no tricks for me, maybe you can just sympathize a little? These little ones are stressing me out to the max!!
PS 1st grade has gone soooooooooo much better than kindergarten 🙂