School was GREAT today because...
by Linda Todd
It's Monday morning. You wake up feeling good. You have a great week planned out. You have your schedule planned out. It all looks good on paper. You've put in extra time to make sure everything you need is ready to go. The classroom is clean, attractive, and smells good. You are ready!
Then the kids come.
Three kids are crying because they don't want their mama to leave. Suzy left her jacket on the bus last week and her mother wants you to make sure she comes home with it today. Everyone wants to tell you about their weekend while you are trying to locate two missing name tags. Several children bring in notes about who is to pick them up today. Meanwhile, a mother is talking to you about Johnny saying his stomach hurts, but she's sure it's just Monday morning jitters, and she simply can't miss work anyway, children, (including sick Johnny) are running around the room yelling instead of finding their place to play. Sarah is at the dramatic play area crying because she wants to play there but not with Tara because she won't let her be the mom.
One of your assistants calls in to explain that she'll be a little late because she has to take treats to her child's class today and wants to talk to the teacher for a few minutes. Jason hits Tommy on the head with a block because "He wasn't playing nice." The ice pack is needed but someone forgot to put it back the last time so hugs will have to do.
The day doesn't get much better. Ricky refuses to clean up at clean up time. Jason pokes other kids all through the story you picked to introduce your theme. Just as you get ready to divide into small groups, you find out Johnny really did have a stomachache. You send everyone out for an extended recess while one of you cleans up the mess and another tries without success to call his mom. You'll just have to find him a quiet place to rest while you keep trying. You spray an air freshener though it's not much help so you decide to let them play out a little longer.
Sarah comes in crying. Jason pushed her down and she has skinned her knee. You wash and bandage it up and decide to let them play outside just a little bit longer while you have a talk with Jason and an assistant sets the table for snack.
Dayna won't eat what you're having for snack again (you wonder what keeps her alive). Jason spills his milk.
You look at the clock, there isn't enough time to rotate three small groups now so you pick one of the activities and do it as a whole group (you'll just squeeze in the other activities tomorrow). The activity doesn't work out as well with the large group and you lose their attention and have to keep calling them back.
You are almost finished when you notice it's already bus time and you have to rush them to get ready. Doug cries because he says he's not supposed to ride the bus but his mom forgot to write a note. You send someone to call quickly while you go beg the bus driver to wait a minute.
Sarah's ride is late again (25 minutes) so your lunch will be short. You can do those errands after school. Ricky left his show-and-tell. You forgot to ask Suzy's bus driver about the jacket. You grab a sandwich and sit for a minute in the quiet room and in walks Chris and her father, he has some errands to run and thought you wouldn't mind if he dropped her off a little early (15 minutes) again.
HERE YOU GO AGAIN!
Not every day is like this, but some are. You will go crazy fast if you don't remain flexible and realize that even though your plans look good on paper, once you add four year olds, anything can (and will) happen. Take it all in stride and adjust your plans as needed. If an activity isn't working out like you hoped it would, or you've lost the children's interest or control, go ahead and change it or stop and move on to something else.
If you go home each day thinking about all the things that went wrong and all the problems you had you will very quickly become frustrated and burn out.
Focus on the positive! There is so much of that when you look for it. A hug, an extra smile, a step toward a goal accomplished. A pretty picture, a sunny day, twenty kids with dry pants and only one wet (imagine the opposite).
To help you remember there is good in even the worst day, take a few minutes before you go home to list three (or more) reasons the day was GREAT! It will help you go home thinking positive thoughts instead of negative ones.
As long as the children are secure in the fact that they are entering a warm, caring, loving environment when they walk into your classroom, they will thrive and learn from you, and each other, no matter what activities you had to skip or adjust. They will learn to be flexible and caring people also.
from Kids Just Wanna Have Fun...and so do Teachers.
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