things teachers learn, part uno

April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

the majority of my days are spent in a classroom with ten 4-year olds. i am the ‘teacher’, but there are a number of things i have been taught by  my young souls. they’re open, brutally honest, and completely uninhibited with their affection. with the year coming to a close in a little over a month, i thought it would be a good idea to jot down the things that have stuck with me over the past 8 months:

APOLOGIZE & FORGIVE EASILY-the star of this story is a little fireball that can be difficult at times. the concept of ‘self-control’ is one that we work on DAILY. it’s hard for him to raise his hand before blurting out; it’s hard for him to keep comments to himself; it’s hard for him to keep his hands to himself…but, he is always quick to say ‘i’m sorry’ and to forgive mistakes.

(story time) everyday my class enjoys a little thing called ‘snack time’. it’s their favorite part of the day when the work stops and the rules set in place for talking are put to the side. my students know the routine. sit down in the gym, choose milk/water, eat, clean up, throw trash away, etc. well, this particular day one of my little ones decided to rush off after eating without clearing their spot. with many other small annoyances building from the morning, i saw the mess, and i was frustrated. i assumed it was this little guys’ trash because he was sitting close to the area and most of the time any mess that’s left is his. well, today miss d. was wrong. with a serious face and an incredibly stern voice, i said ‘_______, come throw your trash away right now! i am not cleaning this up.’ to which he replied, ‘but miss d. that’s not mine!’

typical. this is always his response, and i didn’t believe him this time. not until another student calmly walked up to me and said, ‘that’s my trash, miss d.’, picked up the cup, and walked over to the trashcan.

i was left standing there looking and feeling quite ridiculous. i was wrong, and my little friend was right. let’s be honest, i was embarrassed. isn’t that silly?! a grown adult feeling embarrassed about being wrong with a 4-year old. i knew i needed to apologize, even if no other adults had been close enough to hear what happened. it would have been easier to brush it off and move on to our next activity, but i had called him out in front of his classmates and it was time for me to apologize in front of my class. so, i walked over to where he was sitting, squatted down in front of him, and told him i was very sorry for getting onto him when the mess on the table wasn’t his. i said i was sorry for assuming (of course, i didn’t use that word cause hello, he’s 4) that he hadn’t cleaned up his area, and i was wrong. he looked at me with a big toothy grin and said, ‘that’s okay, miss d.’ my heart melted, and all was right with the world again.

modeling is huge in education. if you want a kid to learn something, SHOW them how to do it. not just with letters and numbers, but in our words, actions, reactions, and responses. will you show pride or humility? because regardless of the situation, whichever you choose, he/she will assume it’s right and follow suit.

(my sincerest apologies for this sounding like a parenting blog…from a single, 23 year old girl)

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