When I was in college I was an Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development major. I couldn't wait to graduate and have my own classroom, however, before I could actually do that I had to practice and be graded by doing my student teaching. This adventure would happen under the watchful eye of a classroom teacher and my Fundamentals professor. After filling out and turning in the required paperwork, I anxiously awaited the letter that announced where I had been placed. Would it be a new school? Would it be an old school? Who else would be placed in the same school and who would my supervising teacher be?
When the placement letter arrived I was happy to find out that I had been assigned in Mt. Sterling for Kindergarten and Lexington to a 2nd grade classroom. I couldn't wait to get started and was thrilled to be going to the Kindergarten classroom first.
The Kindergarten was actually located in a four room, former school annex located behind the high school. It had a central hallway, tall ceilings, big rooms with windows and hardwood floors. There were two teachers who did “team teaching” and the children would change classrooms for different academic activities. A small playground with a huge shade tree could be seen from two of the rooms. There was a morning class and an afternoon class with about twenty five children in each session.
I remember that the children were adorable and so smart. As the weeks went by, I was allowed to plan all types of activities for them to do. There was literacy, math, science, and my favorite, art. I became close to my supervising teacher and studied her every move so that I could perform to her satisfaction which was very important. The biggest test of all would be an observation visit from my college professor to see how I could handle the classroom. When she came you were required to handle the class all by yourself!!
Oh, the planning that went on before that day! And oh, the stress of thinking about her sitting in the room and watching every little thing that I did and listen to every single word that I said. During her observation visit she would bring an evaluation form, and fill it out in front of you, to let you know your progress. Thank goodness she was only coming one time to Kindergarten!
The day arrived for the observation and I was a nervous wreck. My mind raced with all of the things I planned to do. My professor arrived and said hello and went in to talk with my supervising teacher. The children started to arrive. Where was she? More children arrived. They were still talking! OK, all the children were there. Should I wait? Should I start? If I didn't start soon things might get out of control so I called everyone for “morning circle time”. Let’s get this show on the road!
Everyone gathered on the rug and we began our morning ritual. We sang our morning welcome song, did our roll call, talked about the weather and filled out the weather chart. When they heard we had started my professor came in and took a seat in the corner of the room. She was carrying her trusty clipboard and evaluation form! We began to talk about which day of the week it was and what activities we would do that day.
Suddenly, one of the little boys, who arrived late, burst through the door and headed straight for the circle of children to find his place. He settled in just as I asked if anyone had anything that they wanted to share with the group. (We did this every morning and most of the time children shared stories about pets, a new toy, and birthdays, all of the things that are important when you are 5 years old). So, the little boy who was late raises his hand, waving it excitedly to get my attention. I called on him to share.
He stood up in the middle of the circle, put his hands on his hips, opened his eyes wide and exclaimed, “My Daddy got drunk and threw up all over the T.V. My Mommy had to clean it up and she was really, really mad!” He looked at me for some sort of validation. Oh, dear, what to say?
“Well,” I said, “sometimes those things happen.” He shook his head in agreement; none of the other children said a word or seemed to think anything about what he had just said so we continued on with the lesson. I have no idea what anyone else had to share that day!
In the corner, my professor was quietly cracking up and writing a lot on that clipboard…… and, by the way, I got a great evaluation and a story to tell many years later. Whew!
Kids. You gotta love ‘em!
BA @ Kids Matter