My Experience as an Early Childhood Educator
If you read my last story, you will know I spent a lot of time researching South Korea and jobs there. I spent months reading blogs, watching vlogs, making sure I had tons of apps downloaded in preparation. It wasn't until I felt comfortable with the culture and had committed to leaving my life in the U.S. that I started looking for work.
As I walk through the hallway that is filled with Grade 2 students all lined up for their Phy. Ed class I hear a very familiar excited voice right behind me."Hello Mr. Logan!" I turn around and their she was. Her big brown eyes filled with light and excitement, and very timid, and approval seeking smile. I make sure that I am several meters away so that I can pull down my mask and reciprocate the smile and validate her attention seeking expression. It takes time, work and consistently to build a strong positive connection with a child but when you finally do establish that bond its life changing. A year before all this I met her for the first time in Grade 1. There she was in the back of the class very quiet, very shy, very timid. One day she gets off her chair and approaches me. She does not speak a word does not crack a smile. She hands me her pencil and her sharpener. I know what she is asking for but she is too shy to say the words. So I begin sharpening her pencil. I tell her a joke to put her mind at ease. She cracks a very small smile. This pattern occurred everyday for two weeks. As everyday passed that smile got bigger and her eyes got wider with excitement. She would return to her seat turn around at me and start giggling. I knew from these reactions that I was finally making a connection with her. In time she began to speak and having conversations with me. At this point she was beginning to associate me with positive emotions. She began to get more comfortable speaking in class and raising her hand when she had a question. She was slowly starting to project her voice across the class. A huge progression from when I had to put my ear an inch from her face to hear her voice. She starting making friends joining in on games during recess and lunch. On the days she was too shy I would initiate a game with her and the other children. I would allow myself to slowly fade away into the background and this allowed facilitated her to establish a connection more with her peers then just with me. As the school year went on she improved. Now in Grade 2 she is blossoming. I always make a point to check in with her from time to time. Even if we do not see each other as much I always make sure to be her Constant. To be that Power Male Role Model when she needs it. When she throws up that Bat signal she knows The Batman is on the way.
Being a new teacher is rough. We don’t know what to ask. We don’t know how to ask. And we don’t know what to do fairly often. We’re overwhelmed and often treading water just enough to keep from drowning, but not enough to stop from inhaling some of the water.
For the majority of the population, history class has been and always will be boring. Students consider history “irrelevant” and boring. When possible, students do the very least in their social science classes, especially history. The information given to a passive audience is forgotten as soon as possible. When high stakes testing included history, the results would reveal that the future of this nation knew extraordinarily little about the past and how the country got to where it is.
I believe that my whole approach to teaching has changed significantly enough for me to reflect on what I do now and how I got here.
I’m not a traditional teacher. I do, however, have several years of experience working in schools with students. I currently work at a high school in our work-study department. Before COVID, I managed the transportation for our program and on average taught a class once a month. Seeing as how students aren’t going to physical work location my role has changed and now my team and I are teaching at least 2 classes a day virtually focused on professional development. I'm sharing my experience to highlight my struggle and the struggle of many other teachers but I also wanted to share the little structure I have found in our chaotic times. Being vulnerable and being human is especially important during these perilous times and I hope a sneak peek into my day, will create some solidarity in knowing, you are not alone.
The fast pace of innovations in data and internet driven technologies in past decade has influenced every aspect of our life. Let it be the way we start our day, plan our day, commute, eat, work, connect with people, interact with people, be social, transact and the way we learn new things.
You probably suspect that the title of this piece is a rhetorical question. Perhaps this accurately represents your thought process: “You’re not really asking if this is the case! You’re asserting that it’s the case! The subtitle gives it away.” If so, you’re quite right. It doesn’t take much investigation to confirm that the education process has become far more parent-heavy this year.
Playing games is fun! As we know, learning can be more fun using games, especially in Math. Math games are a way to enrich students’ learning of math concepts, as well as to increase speed in computation. Math games can be used in all areas of math teaching. Motivation is when children freely choose to participate and enjoy playing a game that helps them with learning. Games motivate children! This creates a positive attitude which is essential to learning and mastering a subject. Games provide opportunities for students to reduce the fear of failure and error in a carefree and fun environment.
I am a semi retired teacher with 16 plus years of experience. I have taught elementary grades kindergarten through eighth grade in public and private schools. I have taught in a regular classroom, special education classroom and mixed. I have substituted long and short term. I have also taught online, long distance learning. I have taught in the midwest and i have taught in the West. I tutor all over the country. I can conclude that none of it is easy, but ALL of it is rewarding.