“Everyone is in awe of the lion tamer in a cage with half a dozen lions. Everyone but a kindergarten teacher”
– Unknown (found here 9/11/15)
Ordinarily I would post an FTPL video on a Monday afternoon, however due to working on the elusive beast known as work-life balance I was unable to record one over the weekend. Instead, you have some musings on a day spent in a kindergarten class last week. My long-time readers would be aware that in my current role, Thursday is a day where I am utilised as a way of affording those teachers whom have missed out on their Release from face-to-face (RFF, also known as non-contact time in some states I am told) for various reasons. Last Thursday I spent the day on a kindergarten class as the teacher was at a course. Some of my friends from university would have been ecstatic with this, however for me, there was an element of fear.
I have felt, all the way through my initial teacher education program and the associated professional experience placements, and the teaching that I have done since graduating that I am better suited for upper primary. Teaching the younger years, particularly kindergarten, is out of my comfort zone. I have not been able to put a finger on exactly what it is about kindergarten that unnerves me, however going in for a full day on kindergarten had me rather nervous and feeling well out of my depth. At the end of the day however, I felt like I had achieved something with the class and was quite happy.
We began with a book reading (Mr McGee Goes to Sea), after which we discussed words that could be used to used to describe the main character, and students were then asked to write three describing sentences (the three snippets on the left-hand side of the above photo). Some students needed substantial support, but I was impressed with the effort and achievements, not having any real experience with kindergarten writing. The depth that some wanted to go to was, to me, impressive. There were a number that wanted to write about the main character’s pyjamas, but did not want to use the colloquial pjs, and needed help spelling the word.
When we moved on to mathematics, I introduced the concept of perimeter to them, something which I knew the regular teacher had not yet introduced after a conversation with the teacher next door. In this, I feel like I achieved something of substance. When we were finished, the class were all able to explain what perimeter was, could explain why each group had different measurements for their table, despite them being the same size, and could explain why you would not use small objects (e.g. paddle pop sticks) to measure the perimeter of large objects (e.g. the school) and vice-versa. When I showed some books to my supervisor, she was also impressed with the quality of their efforts.
The day gave me hope that, although I certainly do not see myself as a kindergarten teacher, I can be effective in a kindergarten class. As I gain more experience and confidence, who knows, I may well change my mind and move into the kindergarten space.