Teaching kindergarten is honestly one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered in my twenty-three years of living. I thought kindergarten? I love kindergarten, the children are so innocent, they have all the potential in the world to do and become anything they want. I think to myself when I see a five-year old building an intense railroad: one day they could be an engineer, or the ones drawing pictures more talented that i could ever produce: could it be the next Picasso of the future. I thought: I was a teacher assistant in kindergarten for five years back home, kids love me, I have a bubbly and energetic personality! I thought it’d be songs, games, crafts, hugs and giggles….but HA, no. it isn’t all butterflies and legos.
the truth about kindergarten is that at that age they have the most unpredictable attitude about EVERYTHING. their exposure to the English language is almost nonexistent, they are still learning Thai. attempting to explain directions or tasks…ha thats a joke and I end up looking like a joke.
one moment they are sweet little angles, giving me hugs, telling you that you’re beautiful, asking them to play with you. listening and perfecting reciting the words they are learning. the next day/moment/hour those same angels are running around, screaming, kicking each other, spitting. you can get a couple to calm down and focus some of their attention on the lesson of the day but as soon as one or two start misbehavior it’s like the domino effect. give it five minutes and the classroom is a ZOO. attempting to explain directions is nearly impossible. and most of the time when i ask them questions about what they learned they just repeat whatever i say. “What is this?” “What is this?” “No you tell me, is it a car?” “is it a car?” “is it?” “is it?” UGH! or when i am trying to be discipliney and i ask the students to “stop that” “go to sleep” “close your eyes” “pick up your toys” the same thing. they just repeat every word i say. at least they are speaking word of English rather than Thai. although these conversations leave with me with a pounding headache. granted this is my first week as a foreign kindergarten teacher and i am doing the best i can. i only hope that things will get easier as time passes.
but there are those moments when all the running around and speaking loudly and repeating myself over and over and over actually pays off. for a brief moment when you ask a child what this is or they point outside and say ‘it’s raining’ you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, for my little kiddies are LEARNING!
Things I Have Learned in Kindergarten:
*repeat everything, everything, everything, EVERYTHING (like a zillion times)
*they have a SHORT attention span. five minutes of golden behavior on one task is all they can manage (and me for that matter)
*don’t make it boring. obviously sitting for an hour reciting words, is not the way to mold young minds. make it lively, colorful, fun. THE BEST LEARNING IS WHEN THEY DONT REALIZE THEY ARE LEARNING
and the most important thing i have learned:
*you have to be silly, be goofy, act like an idiot, roll around on the floor, be dramatic
at the end of the day when all the lessons (both English and Thai) i stay and just play around. making some tea and cheese, building some railroads and contraptions and learning Thai from my little four-year olds
this is Google, she is teaching me my colors in Thai while she practices them in English