It was my first day fulfilling the required observation hours as a Child Development major. Early in my college career, professors began assigning my classmates and me to classrooms full of sticky-handed children. With our degree, we had the opportunity to be teachers, so of course we needed hands-on experience – even if that meant our hands would also be sticky by the end of the day!
I remember being so nervous as I walked into my observation classroom. I loved kids. I interacted well with kids. It wasn’t the kids that scared me, it was the teacher.
Would she like me? Would she see me as a nuisance? Would she be a teacher I looked up to?
As I entered the room, Mrs. G (her name was too long and had too many consonants for her speech-delayed kindergarteners) was stooped over, helping a pixie-cut blond girl. The girl was nearing tears as she attempted to understand her math homework. Mrs. G draped her arm around the sweet girl’s shoulder and asked if maybe it was time to take a break and move on to the next activity. The girl sniffed, composed herself, then was assigned the task of gathering the class on the carpet.
The class didn’t just walk directly to the carpet. Mrs. G and her student-helper called out categories of children to make this transition (if you have a dog at home, if your shoes are untied, if your hair is parted). Once they arrived to the carpet, the children were encouraged to sit in specific ways (boys on the blue squares with their legs crossed or girls on the green circles with their legs straight).
As Mrs. G spotted me in the doorway, she winked but redirected her attention to her students. It was time to practice early literacy skills. I pulled up a child-sized chair and watched as the children interacted through hand motions and movements; they chopped words, sounded them out, and clapped compound words together. The formerly tear-filled student smiled brightly as she used the “magic fairy wand” to dismiss her friends to recess, counting them by twos as she went.
The students (as kindergarteners do) tripped over each other and struggled to stand in line until Mrs. G called out a back-and-forth rhyming cheer to regain the class’ attention and focus. She sent the children out the door imitating arctic animals before turning to introduce herself to me.
I was in love…
For the next two weeks, I am writing on BumbyBox’s blog. Click here to read the rest of this post.