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First Year, Tenth Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

It's the first week of November. I'm trying to find something to be thankful for everyday. It's easy for me to remember the negatives rather than focus on the positives. I have to be wary of that in my classroom with the kids. I don't want to emanate negativity. The biggest thing I'm thankful for today is that this week is over! haha. Usually the week leading up to Halloween is when the kids are crazy, but I have found that the week after Halloween is plumb ridiculous! My kids were so out of it. Reminders to sit quietly, to not shout out, and the complete lack of kind words and friend-forming behaviors was incredibly repetitive all week. It was ironic because in Bible class we talked about kindness this week, and in Language Arts, we started a new unit on friendship. I've never seen my kids so mean to each other. At alphabet center time (an extra special privilege--they love centers, and I tried to incorporate it into phonics for them) the lack of following directions and "me-first!" attitudes led to heads down on tables for 5 minutes because they couldn't clean up without arguing and yelling at each other. Oh my goodness! We had a talk about what we could have done differently to be more kind. Then I gave them a chance to go apologize to a friend that they had been unkind to. (That part was good, there was legitimate, lengthy "I'm sorry for _______," happening and "I forgive you"s.) Then we prayed for a while. There was just a dire need for the Lord's recognized presence in the room. This week my principal was out of town. She relinquished duties to various teachers and staff, and we've been on our own since Tuesday. The duty given to me was to lead worship in chapel. I was honored she asked me, especially since I'm the newbie, and I know there's other teachers that sing and do worship ministry. I was a little nervous when I realized that chapel this week was going to be our awards chapel and all the parents were going to be there! But it was just two songs. I went to worship practice on Tuesday, and was a little discouraged. Worship is led by students. They are on stage and sing and do the motions for the songs while the principal walks around with a hand-held mic and sings, talking in between songs. I was surprised at the negative attitudes and the "I don't want to be here" moods when I went to practice. I never would have guessed that from seeing them in chapel every week. It was discouraging because I've been doing worship ministry for so long, and I really have a heart for it. It's hard to teach what having a "heart of worship" means when their hearts are hardened by their attitudes. I talked about it with the secretary later and she confessed similar feelings of the principal. I was glad it wasn't just me, but saddened for her because I know how much worship means to her too. Regardless of the frustrating practice, leading worship today went well, and one of the songs that I wasn't sure about how well it was going to fly with the older kids, seemed to be the favorite of the two.

Today one of my students showed up with a new haircut. You know who she looked like? ME! Haha. It was short and layered just like mine. She looked absolutely darling too! I talked to her mom after school. She said the hairdresser asked about layers and her mom didn't think about it, just said, "sure," left the room for a moment, came back and said, "You know who you look like?! Miss Neal!" She was ecstatic; her mom said I'm her idol so she couldn't have been happier to look like me. How sweet is that?

I've found a solution to my morning anxiety and sickness: more sleep! :) I changed my morning routine--showering the night before instead of waking up extra early to do so. I pack my car, make my lunch, and pick out my outfit the night before, so I cut out a whole 30 minutes. It's been perfect. Additionally, I've gone to bed around 9pm every night. Feels so good!

My bronchitis is gone, praise the Lord! Only took 2-1/2 months... But I haven't had a coughing fit, haven't needed my inhaler, and haven't lost my voice in a couple weeks! :) Yay! Now I just have an eye twitch, I'm breaking out, and I have a canker sore. Always something. But I'm sooooo glad my cough is outta here! I woke up one morning and couldn't move without pain shooting up my back, but after some prayer, ibuprofin, and muscle relaxing cream, I was fine by 9am.

I'll leave you with some additions to my list: You know you're a kindergarten teacher when:

Students shout your name with glee to see you walk across the playground to the office--even though they just saw you 2 minutes ago. You feel like a movie star.

You're immune to the smell and sound of farts and pretend that your children aren't distracted by it when they are giggling and saying "ew" in the middle of your lesson. You keep pressing on as if nothing's happened.

Rainy days are like a death sentence because you know your class is going to be stuck inside at both recesses, all your recess-time prep will take double the time it usually does because children will be interrupting you every two minutes, they will be extra wiggly and distracted all day, and they will pester you with the never ending question, "but when do we get to go to recess?"

Friday being one day closer is all the motivation you need to get up in the morning.