Ten years in kindergarten flew by. Teaching has caused me to grow more than I ever could have imagined. I learned that sometimes you smile, even when you don't want to smile. I learned how to parent, and how not to parent. I grew more patient. My (sheltered) eyes have been opened to issues that I never even knew existed. I also learned that five year olds fall down. Like a lot. They also like to take off their shoes, even at recess.
Kindergarten is not the same kindergarten when I was in school, with nap time and cookies. No, I am not a babysitter. I did go to college. I am an educator. Kindergarten isn't even the same as it was 5 years ago. Thankfully, we now have limits on how many bodies can be in our rooms (around 25). We no longer have half-day kindergarten, with two classes of 35 students each. Kindergarten is now the place where you take a preschooler and turn them into a reading and writing scholar, who can compose and decompose numbers... One who speaks in complete sentences, questions the world around them, and argues their points in Socratic Seminars.
I educate. For every minute I spent "teaching," I was simultaneously assessing, monitoring behavior, redirecting behavior, stimulating engagement, facilitating discourse, and making sure students knew what they were learning and why they had to know it, all while loving them. Effective teachers are these amazing creatures who should be celebrated. Yes, they use their hard earned money on classroom supplies, books, special occasions, that special fabric for bulletin boards, etc. We would rather buy it ourselves than let those kids go without it. We want to make an inviting environment or experience, and events memorable.
Summers off aren't what one would expect. I planned, I created, and I set up during the summers. Almost like a squirrel storing their acorns for the long winter. I tried to prepare the best I could, since it gets so busy during the school year. The exhaustion from teaching kicks in. We don't sit down. We dance on desks and wear costumes, so kids might actually pay attention to us. There might as well be classrooms without teacher's desks. I was exhausted after teaching, especially those first two weeks of school every year, my bedtime was often 6:00pm. But it's ok; we teach for no other reason except that we love it. We have a passion for it. If those little children didn't look up to us, we wouldn't tolerate those days without A/C (17 sporadic days this school year) or taking on another teacher's class because a substitute teacher didn't show up. We think about those little ones constantly, maybe at 3:00am when a lesson idea pops into our head that may just help them understand substituting phonemes. Teachers make it happen. Like a boss.
I will miss teaching and I plan on going back one day. There's something about those "four walls with tomorrow inside" that gets my creativity flowing. Shout out to all the effective educators out there who make a difference, who go above and beyond, and who get things done. #GTD I appreciate you. Happy summer break!