Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teaching babies is hard

Wrong, but so sweet

At the beginning of the month my bosses added a class of 4 and 5 year olds. I think they thought I'd be thrilled, but they were wrong. They were very wrong. Teaching kids that age is so hard - not because the content is difficult, but because you have to make them sit still and pay attention to what you're doing. And in order to make them pay attention you have to put on a show. But the show can't be too entertaining, otherwise they'll get too excited and forget to concentrate on what they're supposed to be learning, and you'll end up with a classroom of screaming 5 year olds. It's a very delicate balance and I just don't have the patience for it.

Kids that age learn in a strange way too. For weeks and weeks you do the same things over and over - you sing so many versions of the alphabet song, you practice the flash cards, you write your letters in every color of the rainbow, yet they retain nothing. Yesterday I had them writing T on the whiteboard, then they had to go to their desks and do a letter T worksheet. During the walk from the whiteboard to the desk they completely forgot what letter we were practicing and what sound it makes. It was like a vacuum came and sucked all the English out of their little minds, and I had to start the lesson from the beginning again. And then finally one day in the distant future they'll come in and recite their abc's perfectly, and you're so proud but also so irritated because what took you so long?! I'm impatiently waiting for that day to arrive.

There are some older kids that stick around after their class is over to do homework or wait for their moms to come pick them up, and they are captivated by this class. I always catch them peeking through the window or walking up and down the hallway. Yesterday a girl actually fell into the classroom when I opened the door to go make copies because she had her ear pressed up against the door. So I decided to let them join in, and oh my gosh it's so great! These 3rd graders are so excited to sing the abc song with the babies and help them match their letters and color pictures together. It's adorable, and their excitement is starting to rub off on me. Having them in there also helps me keep my sanity a little bit, so win-win.

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