We are at Week 5 of the #kinderblog13 blogging challenge. Once again, I am late (by about 2 weeks) with my post… This week’s topic: What are my fears when it comes to teaching?? Oh, I have lots of them!
I will list a few (in no particular order), hopefully it won’t sound like I’m rambling too much.
#1. I worry that when it comes to the children in our classroom, that I somehow missed something. This may be a skill that someone needed to be more ready for kindergarten, or something more. Sometimes, difficult children have things going on at home that we don’t know about. By knowing what’s happening outside of school, it’s sometimes easier to handle or deal with the behaviors we see at school.
Sometimes, a child may have a medical concern that needs to be addressed. I have had children in my classroom that seemed like they were struggling to learn letters or numbers, or continued to struggle with things like cutting. After a conversation with their parents, they brought them in, and discovered they needed glasses. One girl, it took a year and a half of her being in my class before I made the connection that it might be her eyes that were making learning more difficult for her. We’ve also had children who ended up with a special needs diagnosis. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not behaviors are due to undiagnosed issues or other reasons, either way, I don’t want to miss it! I’m not saying I’m a doctor, obviously, I’m not. I just want to make sure I’m noticing things that might make me change strategies, or get them any needed intervention.
#2. Was there more I could have taught them? My primary job as a preschool teacher is to help children prepare for Kindergarten. This includes social skills; math skills such as sorting, comparing, etc.; literacy and pre-reading skills such as letter identification, etc.; fine motor skills such as cutting, and so much more! I also want to encourage their natural sense of wonder, creativity, and desire to explore. If I never wondered (or feared) that I taught them, and let them explore everything possible, then what kind of teacher would I be?
#3. Did I really do my best? Also, was my heart really into it? At the beginning of the school year, I am always very excited to meet our new students, and to plan as many fun things for them to play with (aka learn through) as I can. I love to watch them grow, and get excited to watch the progress happen. As the year goes on, sometimes, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. Around February, I think we all tend to feel a bit blah. The end of our Minnesota winter is still a ways away, and we all feel a bit cooped up. It’s easy to lose energy quickly (except for the children, whose energy NEEDS to be released, but isn’t). I hate that feeling. I don’t want to ever be only half-heartedly “present” in preschool. I want to always do and be my best. My fear (and the reality that I’m human) is that sometimes, I’m not.
#4. Did I handle a situation the best way I could have? As a teacher, we sometimes have situations that happen either in our classrooms, or with parents, that are less than awesome. I always try to reflect afterwards with other teachers or my supervisor, on whether or not it was handled in a way that was best for everyone, or whether there were other ways to deal with it.
#5. Do the children in my class feel special and safe? This is the number 1 (and I guess, 2) thing I want children in our classroom to feel. The world can be a scary place for children. Sometimes, terrible things are happening at home, in their neighborhoods, or even just on TV. Adults talk about things that are scary to children sometimes without even realizing that the children are listening. At school, we try to make sure all children feel safe! We also want them all to know that everyone has something special to add to the class. They are all special! 🙂
OK, I could go on and on with fears, or rather, things I like to reflect on about my classroom, and the children in it. I could also go on and on about all my hopes for the children who are about to start their first or second year in preschool. I will wrap it up with this: if there are things we fear in our classrooms, we need to reflect – often. Reflecting on how we’re doing on a regular basis will help alleviate some of those “fears”, and make us better teachers.