I started a new job at a new center this past week. It has been a very interesting experience, one that has required me to keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth closed as I take in what has proven to be an entirely different atmosphere from where I came from. And everything that I have witnessed has been the antithesis of what I have been trying to learn and discuss on this blog.
So after the first day I was questioning my sanity as it related to why I wanted to switch jobs in the first place. After the second day I had pretty much convinced myself that I was insane. And then the third day came.
I had worked very hard at the end of the second day to convince myself that I could at least try to make a difference. I could bring what little influence I have into that center and grow and evolve just like I did in the last center. I can continue my education (I have just recently started going back to school as well) so that, when the time comes, I can become a consultant or something so that I can help centers who have this atmosphere gain the knowledge and support they need to develop a new and better atmosphere, one where the children and teachers are learning and growing and experiencing life together in a loving, caring way. I spent half of the third day with my mind fighting with itself, telling me that there is no way I will last in this place, there is no way I can make a change, trying to come up with little ways that I can make a change.
I will be working with older children in summer camp this year, something that excites me to no end because older children have thought processes that are different from younger children, so the experiences that you can bring to them can be more complex in nature. I am actually looking forward to piquing their curiosity about the world around them and encouraging them to experiment and come up with ways to learn more about the world and how it works. Because right now those kids are bored. They come from school every day and spend their time as any other bored child does: looking for ways to break their boredom. And since there isn’t much offered to them to experiment with or learn from, they spend their time experimenting with how their actions are going to affect their friends. In other words, there is a lot of animosity and negative energy in the classroom right now.
So during the third day I was fighting with myself, and I came upon an unexpected ally in my quest: the current teacher in the classroom, and the one I will be helping. I’m not sure what has happened in the classroom to turn it into what it is now (because apparently it hasn’t always been that way) but I know that they lost a teacher a month ago, and apparently she was “really nice,” according to the children in the class. So the teacher and I talked a little, and we have similar views as to the purpose of daycare for this age group (which is not to have them sitting around being bored; they have done that all day). But there is more to it than that, and it will take work and more talks to achieve the results that we need to. I think that this week we are going to start with a few science experiments. That should get the kids thinking and and experimenting and working together. There are also some classroom structures that I am going to implement, such as a schedule and jobs for everyone. That should help too.
I think that my biggest problem is going to be realizing that nothing in this classroom is going to change overnight. But with hard work and consistency this classroom can become just as smooth and fun as my last classroom was.
Of course, if anyone who comes across this post would like to suggest anything to help, I would really be open to advice. I have worked with this age a little bit, but not a lot, and it is an entirely different ball game from working with three-year-olds!
- What Makes a High-quality Preschool? (socyberty.com)