I have been blessed with two student teachers this semester, Ms. T and Ms. P. These two girls are AWESOME! They just stepped right in to our classroom and routine on day one like they had been there all year. They work great with the kiddos, discipline appropriately, and they are so energetic about teaching. They WANT to learn and participate. They have reminded me about why I wanted to become a teacher!
I know I am a good teacher (don't take that as I am big on myself though). I have taught and prepared many young kiddos to go to kindergarten. I plan all summer long for the upcoming year, thinking of new ideas and redoing ideas that work. I plan all week long for the upcoming week or weeks. I have come up with a curriculum that suits my teaching style and helps them learn.
I developed an assessment for my preschool. I assess children multiple times in a year, watching their progress and working with them in areas where they are struggling. You can purchase my Preschool Assessment packet at Teachers Pay Teachers. I use these assessments to inform parents of where their child is at in being prepared to go to kindergarten and what I need to work with to prepare them for kindergarten. I keep records of each year so I can see the progress from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
But, all this, they can be 'technicalities' of the job. They are important, very important, (you have to plan and assess to know where you need to be going) but it is not why I went into teaching.
Two weeks ago, I was watching Ms. T read to some kiddos during free choice time. They were gathered around her listening intently as she read the story they had picked out for her. As soon as she was done, another one would hand her a book to read.
The next day, as I reviewed the kiddos work at my desk, I watched Ms. P build with big cardboard blocks with the kiddos. They were building a tower but it kept falling over. She guided them, not instructed them, to think of other ways they could build the tower. They ended up building the tower more like a coliseum (you know the kind in the old movies where the lions run out and guys fight them).
As I sat there watching, I found myself smiling and thinking about how much passion they have and how energetic they were. They do not yet have the pressures of running a classroom on their own and they are enjoying what they are doing. While I absolutely LOVE my job, teaching can sometimes take a toll on you, as all teachers know. But, while watching them, I kept thinking about why I became a teacher. I love playing with the kiddos and having them make new discoveries. I love listening to their stories. I also love watching their progress throughout the year. Not everything needs to be strictly academic.
I have so much focus on preparing them for kindergarten academically that the rest of the important stuff can get lost in the mix sometimes. I am still a highly academic teacher, wanting to find activities that teach and emphasize what we have learned, but I am refocusing to how I used to teach, when I was a 'new' teacher, with activities that teach, are fun and reiterate what we have learned, doing crafts that might not have a purpose other than to be messy and fun, and entering each day with the passion and energy that I had when I first started teaching.
So with all my 'new' insight from my student teachers, I am going to make a goal for the remainder of the year...Remember WHY I became a teacher and continue LOVING my job!