Friday, October 8, 2010

1st Substitute Experience - Kinder

Ok, I have to share my first substituting experience, Oct 7, 2010. I have to say I was greatly concerned to be in a kinder classroom because of kinder rooms I had been in when doing the immersion program with NAU and Flowing Wells. I had a horrible experience in the 2 kinder classes for which I subbed. I don't know if it was because I didn't know what exactly to expect. I had never really spent time in a kinder class before that, and the kids were, seemingly (to me and the aides), outright rude! Now I wonder, was it my student teaching experience that helped me out so much more for this time to be a fantastic experience?

Well, these guys start early, 7:30 am! I had to leave here by 6:30 to make sure I got there by 7! But it isn't that long of a drive, and I actually arrived 10 minutes early (oops). I went over the plans until about break/lunch. There is no way to figure out what is going on for an entire day in less than 30 minutes. At least that way, the morning can go pretty smoothly, and take the lunch time to figure out what is going on the last part of the day, that way it can go smoothly then. Small manageable pieces.

But, to make that a little more difficult, there were adults and kids and other teachers going in and out of the room! It seemed almost a central hub for people! Wow! Now, I am not complaining. It turned out to be great! The parents were friendly, the staff was talkative, but helpful with questions... The environment the teacher had established in her classroom was cozy and friendly. The kids would come in and stare at me! I couldn't help but laugh! They new their teacher wasn't going to be there that day, and the way they looked at me was just curiosity! How fun! She also had parent volunteers come into her classroom regularly and were so willing to help and participate! They were wonderful!

There is no morning bell. I had no idea about that. My response was eek! The kids came in and got their supplies (a sound ring and a word work ring) out of their backpacks. Went to their seats and started their "bellwork". They were so good, and did it without any trouble at all. The kids talked and I only needed to remind them once to keep their voice levels down. The morning went so smooth! The kids listened and moved through the day well. No incidences, listening, and just did what they needed to. Maybe it was because this time, I expecting talking and didn't mind much for it. But from the times before, they just didn't seem to listen...

Now for the funny parts...

The entire day, I had kids coming up to me when they could, asking what I was having. One girl said "You're Pregnant!" while in line to go to recess. I just couldn't help but laugh a little, because it is not like it is not obvious and she had little pigtails in her hair. It was just too cute! Some other kids looked, and several asked if it is a boy or a girl, when will it be born. Then they HAVE to proceed to tell me stories about a younger sibling being born, mommies, aunts and so forth that are pregnant too. It is just so cute! I can't help but smile at it. So I told them later, at the end of the day, I will tell them what we know. That of course, gets them excited!

It also happened to be a little boys 6th birthday that day and brought in one of those cupcake cake looking things where the frosting on it is designed like a cake... It was the shape of a monster from sesame street, a green one. That means, a LOT of frosting. In place of centers (an if time activity), we had the cupcakes. We (a parent volunteer and myself) hunted for and found napkins galore and plates to help maintain the mess at least a little. Needless to say, our attempts were in vain. Green frosting was everywhere! On clothes, on their faces, on hands, on the desks. One kid had to share the frosting love and touch my shirt to ask to go to the bathroom. There was not a person in there without frosting on at least some part of them! The teacher does scrapbooks at the end of the year, so the parent volunteer had the camera and was taking pictures. At least their teacher will get to see the crazy green frosting! I had to wipe down the tables with Clorox wipes at the end of the day, it was just so messy!

So it was after this and right before packing up that I told them about Nikolai. I polled how many people thought it is a girl and how many thought it is a boy (about 50/50), then I shared what we think he is. They got a kick out of that! Then we proceeded to talk about winter, and the holidays (what people celebrated, one Jehovah Witness), and that Nikolai is to be born around the 16th, as I know it; 9 days before Christmas. That got a "wow!" from the kids, not to mention added excitement... It was cute. I polled to see how many kids have a baby at home, one proceeded to say "I am the baby" so then I polled to see how many was the littlest, and how many don't have brothers or sisters. It was fun, and the kids were so interested in it, but then it was time to pack up and go home. 

It was actually fun! I enjoyed those kids so much! And I go back again on November 8th! It will be interesting to see if they remember me. Then again March 3rd! (depending on how things go), and if they remember me then without the baby bump! It was a great day!

To add to the greatness of the day, (though bittersweet) Brandon got home 10 minutes after I did! He only worked 8 hours that day (the bittersweet part), but we got to spend the afternoon together (the great part)!