In our fast paced society, we all live in a world that demands a lot of us. Adults have duel responsibilities – being an employee, parent, child, honest member of society, etc. We have a lot of expectations placed on us daily. Not only do adults have that large role, but so do children.
Children in today's society are asked to also partake in a world that is more than what they are capable of doing on their own. They are asked to sift through emotions that are greater than what they know what to do with. They are learning things that are more advanced that what they should be learning at their age. Children need time to be kids. But that time, to be a kid, is squeezed in between school, sports and other obligations.
When can children be kids these days? What are the expectations for them? We have expectations for them in school. They are to make a certain grade on things or else they are behind. We have certain expectations for them in sports so that they can be the star player or make the better team. But what are the expectations we have for them to be a kid? Do we allow them time to run and play? Or are they expected to partake in other activities that do not allow that.
Recently I did a long term in kindergarten and it was a challenge to fit playtime into their day. Some days I could squeeze only 15 minutes of playtime in. Eeek! For 5 and 6 year olds, play is the most important part of their day. It allows them time to socialize. And when I say socialize I don’t just mean talking – I mean learning how to play cooperatively, using their words to solve conflicts and being creative. So much happens during that short time period, except, we do not have the time to allow it.
Since children have so many expectations on them at school – allow their time at home to be freer. Do not sign them up for too many after school activities. Encourage them to play outside. Sit and talk with them – do not put them in front of the tv or ipad. Have dinner together. Talk about their day with them. Let them be a kid and teach them about life.
Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult things I think we have to do in life. It is difficult to say goodbye to the things we cherish most. My career, and the lives I touch, has always been one of those things – it’s my passion.
Currently, I am finishing my last three days of a long-term in kindergarten. For the past few weeks I have been reminding myself that I will be moving on and their teacher will be coming back. It’s been difficult for me to think that in a few days time I will not be the one taking care of them - watching them grow.
Although, I think the most difficult day was yesterday. One of my students came to me and said today was his last day. Me, being my usual positive self, I shared how exciting moving can be, it means meeting new friends and going to a new school. By the look on his face, he wasn’t buying it. So I asked him how he felt about moving he replied with bad. I said, “Will you miss me?” He said he would. I shared with him that I would too.
However, I also loving shared that all he has to do is think of me and know that I am thinking of him too. We will never be far away…all he has to do is wish me well and know that I am doing the same to him.
Tears still well up in my eyes thinking of that conversation.
My daily goal is to talk to all of my students individually. Not to give them a direction or to help them on an assignment but to actually make some kind of meaningful conversation. Whether it is about their outfit or how they did such great thinking – something that singles them out as an individual and let them know I care. I think we forget that we are in this for more than a paycheck or data points – we are in this for the betterment of humanity. It is because of that time I spend with my kids, building relationships with them, that they trust me and try their best. And when it’s time to say goodbye, it makes it all the harder.
But if saying goodbye means I touched someone’s life, then it’s worth every emotion.
Have you ever had a student that pushes your buttons? That ignores your requests to be a listener? To be quiet when someone is talking?
That can be extremely frustrating as a teacher. In your mind, you might be thinking that they are being defiant. Or that they are a bad.
But what if it was not that at all?
The thought occurred to me one afternoon at dismissal. It is usually loud and busy at that time of day anyways. But one particular afternoon I heard crayons being pushed around in the bin. Instantly, I begin looking for the source of the sound only to meet the eyes of a blonde haired little boy smiling. As I looked into those eyes, I realized he was looking for me to look at him. To say his name - to notice him.
The next day, he and I sat down and I told him that I wanted to hear what he had to say. I wanted to get to know him. His voice did matter in our classroom – to me. During that time, I also talked about ways he could get my attention in a positive way.
After that conversation, things shifted.
When you have a student who is pushing buttons – do you look beyond the behavior and ask why? I had read many books on it, but I always felt confined to making my students behave that I could never get to the root of the behaviors.
Digging deeper, finding out the why of the behavior answers the missing questions as to what we can do to help a student. If we are only addressing the behavior at the surface, we will never find out what that student needs.
Next time a student is disruptive or has behavioral challenges, look beyond the behavior and find out what the student needs.