Until I starting teaching at EHS, I had never spent an entire day with caring for and teaching children being my only duty. Oh man, that first week was exhausting. My back hurt, my knees were creaky, and I smelled like poop. But I was learning to be a better teacher and caregiver and oh so thankful to have a job.
I thought I would share some of the things I've learned working with young children with you.
-- Putting a child to sleep is quite possibly one of the most patience-trying experiences. This was seriously the hardest part of each day that first week. It does not surprise me that there are "Why you should not shake a baby" posters preschools.
-- You can be completely frustrated and at your limit of patience with a child, but when they smile at you just because they spotted you across the room, it makes it all better.
-- Kids never emit bodily fluids at random. They seek out an adult's face, hands, or some otherwise uncovered body part at which to aim their projectile spit, snot, vomit, and half-masicated food. Yum.
-- Poop is gross.
-- Kids can create some ghastly looking boogers. There's one girl in my class that will hold up her hand and say "da?" ("give" in Spanish) to me. When I reach for what she's so sweetly sharing, it only takes a second to realize that she just gave me her booger. Awesome.
-- So, so much can be accomplished if you take a breath, lower your voice to a firm tone, and gently redirect. Yelling accomplishes almost nothing.
-- Culture matters so much to families. I have a lot of respect for my Latino families that still try to retain traditional culture while assimilating into America.
-- A volitional hug from a child will make your heart melt.
-- Watching a child take their first steps should be witnessed by the child's parents, not their preschool teachers.
-- Kids don't sleep at school as well as they sleep at home. You can't blame the school teachers. We do all we can. Kids need sleep to develop properly.
-- Peek-a-boo never, ever gets old.
I love kids. I love watching them discover the world. I feel honored that my families trust me with their children and allow me to take part in their development. While they try your patience, test your gag reflex, and confuse the heck out of you, children are amazing, inspiring, and evidence of God's beautiful creative power.