Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We Got Our Christmas Stuff Put Away!

Sunday, actually - two days ago.  I haven't put up the Valentine theme, so it looks pretty bare in here.

I let Kylen sleep as long as he wanted this morning.  I honestly don't know when was the last time we allowed him to do that, because he would snooze past 1 if we let him.  Sure enough, he got up around 1:20.  There's been bugs flying around, and Greg woke with a sore throat.  Plus, we got up earlier than usual yesterday for the first day back to co-op.  So I figured he could benefit from extra sleep.  Meanwhile, I finished up a photography book for some friends.

I'm teaching a preschool class this trimester.  Ever since I taught it a few years back, I've been telling everyone it's the easiest grade, and people have always been surprised.  Well, it really was the easiest class I ever taught.  Most of the children were calm, great about staying in their seats, and didn't seem to have any expectations of me.  My biggest challenge was a couple of unresponsive children who didn't want their existence acknowledged and one who loved to talk constantly.  And there were a couple who were out of the nursery for the first time and didn't want to leave their mother.  But for the most part, it was a piece of cake!

Throughout the day, several moms expressed their appreciation that I stepped up to fill the sudden and unexpected need for a preschool teacher.  I really didn't think it was all that praiseworthy, being such an easy class.  And besides, I already had lesson plans made from the first time.  Plus, I have a co-teacher who will likely cover the second half of the trimester.  No problem!

Well, I will never look at preschool the same way again.  The class started in a state of total and complete chaos.  Only seven children were there, but we had the full range of personalities.  One of my assistants had to track down two different students at different times who fled the room.  I asked a mom how they usually deal with that, and she said someone stands or sits in front of the door.  We didn't have anyone babysit the door, but I had my chair near it and made several lunges over the course of the class.  There were a couple of students who pouted off and on.  One girl spent a good portion of the hour sucking her thumb and asking to do something else.  I also had a couple of unresponsive students who didn't want to do anything at all.  One actually had her head on the table part of the time and looked miserable.

Thank the Lord, my lesson plans had a couple of very engaging activities, and both my assistants were fantastic.  The 13-year old was wonderful at working with a couple of the girls.  My adult assistant has had prior experience teaching AWANA to the same age group, and I was just amazed by her.  When the class ended and I was out of material, she entertained the children another 15-20 minutes.  I hadn't anticipated needing to extend the last class by that much time.  What a blessing she was!  Wow, God is just so good!!!

I was a bit shell-shocked, but now that I've had some time to think and talk to several people, I may have some insight into why it's different this round.  The biggest reason could be that I am teaching the last hour instead of the first.  By the third hour, this age group is tired.  They've had a busy, fun couple of hours filled with activity and stimulation.  Their concentration is decreased, and since they just came from lunch, those who ate anything with sugar are probably wound up.  Being only three and four years old, some may still be nappers, which could explain why a couple were so unresponsive.  I don't think there is anything I can do to address these differences, but I am still excited about teaching them.  It's just that I will need to rethink my next three lesson plans a bit, perhaps make some changes.  As I've said before, it always amazes me how different every trimester is at co-op, even when there has been little change in the people attending or the age range or the class material.  I think this is a big reason why homeschooling has such huge academic advantages.  It's easier to adjust lesson plans for a small group than for an entire class.  One size simply doesn't fit all!


Kris said...

Cool that you're teaching preschool! After lunch my kids always want to wind down by puttering on their own. I wonder if you could encourage creative play that lets them set their own pace. Today I set out a bin of fake "snow" and a bunch of cars, little people, etc. We talked about the science part, then they had a blast making up stories about the people and cars hiding in the snow, getting stuck, etc (kids working both together and apart from each other). That kind of thing seems to help when energy levels are flagging and moods are swinging around. T

Farrah said...

FUN!!!! Thank you for the tips, Kris! I need to take a look at what we have. We've given away some of the toys that would have been great candidates, like our wooden blocks. But I still have some things that could work that way. =)