Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dear Kindergarten Teacher,


You are in for quite a ride! Today I am joining Mary from Sharing Kindergarten for Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher FROM a Kindergarten Teacher.


Kindergarten is a whole different ballgame than any other grade you will teach. The highs are higher, the lows can be lower, but there are some things you can keep in mind to make the journey successfully.

http://www.sharingkindergarten.com/2015/06/are-you-teaching-kindergarten-next-year.html


If you don't know who Jon Snow is, just know that is is known that he KNOWS NOTHING. The first few weeks (or months, depending on the class), you will have a class of Jon Snows. They don't know how to line up, or what a line is for that matter. They don't know how to open a carton of milk. They are wearing a uniform for the first time and can't quite navigate a belt an may have an accident. They don't realize that they will be with you for 7 hours, and many will fall asleep those first weeks. I do not mean to dismiss what they do know (boy, do they know a lot), but most do not know school, and none know you and your expectations.

They will be little Jon Snows. They won't know ANYTHING you want them to do those first few weeks. But they will learn. My first year teaching kinder, my friend, colleague, and mentor told me I would get past the Jon Snow phase. I didn't believe her, and I don't believe myself when I remind myself each year, but you WILL prevail. They will learn, you will love them, and they will know SOMETHING.

Get ready for how much of yourself you have to give. I went from 3rd to 2nd to 1st to K (where I am staying). Each year, I thought the kids were SO needy, but none are as needy as kinders. They need you to care, they need you to love on them, they need you to teach them the ways of the world. You are nurturing them from the second they walk in the door until well after they go home in the afternoon. When they are in your room, you are not only their teacher, you are mom/ dad/ auntie/uncle/ grandpa/ grandma/cousin for the next 7 hours. They need you to be all of those things and more in order to get through the day, and you have to be willing and able to give it your whole heart.

I am not complaining about having this tremendous task on my shoulders, but not everyone is up for it. The K teacher I replaced wouldn't give hugs or let her kids touch her- and those kids don't miss her. Your students are not going to remember their WPM or RIT scores they got in your class, but they will remember that you gave them a hug when they needed it, that you were encouraging and proud when they finally wrote their name correctly (even if it was in April), or that you took a minute to ask them how they are. Get your heart ready for the challenge.

Remember they are five. They are little. They are capable of so much, but they have needs, too. Yes, it is frightening to have soul-crushing standards on our shoulders and top-down pressure to crank out little machines geniuses, but these are LITTLE KIDS. Remember why you chose to teach.

Have fun. Make time for laughter. Sing a song, even if your voice is awful. Embrace creativity. Read silly books. Screw Forget your lesson for a day and go outside with some chalk. Not only do your babies need it, so do you.

This one is huge, frightening, and exciting. 
You are their KINDERGARTEN TEACHER. That is an honor. I do not know anyone who doesn't remember their kindergarten teacher. I still remember specific lessons my K teacher Mrs. Gutman taught us, 20 something years later. Third graders who are almost my height come by me after school for hugs and to ask about my cat Billy and if I remember the Knuffle Bunny play we went to see. You have celebrity status to them- they won't remember your flaws, they will revere you. They will love you forever.

YOU taught them to read. YOU made them excited for this journey called school. YOU were there for them when they were sad. YOU reminded them of their greatness. YOU forgave their mistakes, teaching them the valuable life lessons of forgiveness and fixing mistakes when you can. YOU ARE THEIR KINDERGARTEN TEACHER.



Oh, sweet teacher who is up for this challenge of teaching kindergarten....it is exactly that, a CHALLENGE, but so worth it. I wouldn't want it any other way. You can do it, you can do right by those little people sitting in front of you. Have fun and enjoy the journey!



10 comments:

  1. I'm SO GLAD I came over to read your awesome teacher tips! You have such great advice here!! I LOVE your Jon Snow analogy! I had never though of it that way but boy is it ever true! I fear I have 'Jon Snow' phase when it comes to the first few weeks of school...I tend to block them from my memory year after year! :-) There are many times throughout the year I chant in my head 'They are 5, they are 5, they are 5'. Thanks for sharing such great advice!!

    Warmest Wishes,
    Erin
    www.kinderdragons.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for reading! I am in that rough point in the year when the kids are checked out (and to be honest, so am I!) and I need to psych myself up for next year. I am so glad there are others out there who understand what kinder is all about! It's unlike anything else!

      Deirdre

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  2. Deirdre - Thanks so much for sharing your tips! Having fun is SO important!!! They are 5 and 6 and need fun learning! Have a wonderful rest of the week!
    ~Heather :)

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    1. They NEED to have fun, and so do we! I have been pulling in all the fun I can to get through these last few days! Thanks for stopping by!

      Deirdre

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  3. Hi Deirdre! "You know nothing Jon Snow!" Oh.........my..........word..........I love that reference. That totally explains the beginning of school. I talked about doing a line order in my post and the kinders seem to think it is the most random thing EVER. But.........eventually they get it. I never thought of comparing Game of Thrones to kindergarten - you are brilliant!
    Suzanne
    Kindergarten Planet

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    1. One day last September at a venting session with my coworker I blurted out "THEY KNOW NOTHING!" And since I have the coolest coworkers around, we both started laughing and named them our Jon Snows :)

      I agree with needing a line order- there is nothing that drives me crazier than tattles about who cut! It is so refreshing when they finally get it! Our "got it" time came a little later this year, but now we are a well-oiled machine and I love it!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Deirdre

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    2. Can I just say that I love this! I am so calling my Kinders Jon Snows from now on :) I am a little late to the Game of Thrones game, but now we are binge watching it! Oh, the line order... drives me crazy too! Thanks for your fabulous post and nice Game of Thrones laugh!

      Jen
      KindergartenCoffeeTalk

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    3. I started watching at the beginning of season 4 and have since binge watched many times and I'm on a reread of all the books! I am a little obsessed! But yeah, they are Jon Snows!

      Thanks so much for reading!

      Deirdre

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  4. This is one of the sweetest posts EVER! Kindergarten is hard work, and they do come in knowing nothing, but it is so worth it - and you really made that evident with your last point! There have been nights where I have cried from frustration thinking my kiddos were just never going to "get it", but then they turn around and progress and do amazing things :) Not to mention all the times they make me almost pee myself laughing!!! haha
    Andrea
    Maternelle avec Mme Andrea

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    1. Thank you so much! It is so hard- trying to get myself ready for that again- but it is so rewarding! I agree, they can be hilarious! I had one little buddy last year who was SO FUNNY and made me laugh daily. I hope I have another like him!

      Thanks for coming by!

      Deirdre

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