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First Year, Twenty Fourth Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

It was Dr. Seuss week in Miss Neal's kindergarten class this week, and let me tell you, by the end of it, I was WIPED OUT! I amazingly went home at 4:30pm on Friday (don't usually get out before 5:30pm on Fridays), took a bath, and slept like a rock until 10am! (I never sleep past 8am anymore.) It probably helped that I double covered my window shades with a fleece blanket and two quilts, so the sun wouldn't come in and wake me up. The things that a desperate teacher does for sleep... The first day that I tried to do Dr. Seuss centers was absolutely crazy. The first day is always the trickiest with centers because if we've never done these centers before then you get a lot of confusion, and my parent helper unexpectedly didn't come in that day, which sucked. I don't always work with a center group, but I was doing my first science center experiment and wanted to be there directly helping them. In my center, I read them "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" by Dr. Seuss, and we made oobleck. I also had a worksheet for them to fill out--a kinder version of a lab report. But due to the fact that every single center group was shouting at me across the room every two pages, we didn't have a lot of time to finish everything. I was so frustrated at being interrupted; they've never done it that much before because they know they're supposed to ask a friend, not me when I'm working with a group. I was super annoyed and my voice was shot from trying to read the book over all the noise and keep the kids interested. They just wanted to watch what all the other groups were doing. The rest of the week went a lot better. For some reason I had two helpers on Tuesday for centers, one of them didn't have much to do because I really just needed one. On Thursday, my helper canceled on me, but I had gotten the flow of it down and set up a few extra rules to help us all out, which worked a lot better. The kids got to try green eggs and ham. I think 5 out of 19 didn't try it at all. About half of them liked it and half of them didn't.

We made hats, graphed colored goldfish, and read lots and lots of stories. It was a fun week. The kids were the most thrilled when I opened my door on Dr. Seuss' birthday wearing a red feather boa, a cat in the hat hat, and had whiskers on my face. I was the only teacher at my school that dressed up though a few mentioned they had hats like that too. Every student in the school excitedly pointed and said "hi" to me all day. All day I heard, "Look at Miss Neal!!" Lol, it was fun.

On Wednesday, I had the most wonderful Bible class. We'd been learning about Jesus' healing. We specifically studied the story of the friends who let their paralyzed friend into the room through the roof to be healed by Jesus. I had them put their "imagination hats" on and I retold the story, and had them picture that they were in the house listening to Jesus teach when all of a sudden someone was coming down through the roof! They loved it. They begged me to do it again the next couple of days. We talked about how God still has the power to heal--that we can pray to Him for healing when we're sick or injured physically or emotionally. On Wednesday, I put them in prayer partners. I told them to ask each other what they or their families needed healing for and then pray for them. I turned out the lights and walked around the classroom to make sure they were staying on task. Listening to their sweet, earnest voices lifted heavenward for each other was the most priceless, precious thing in the world. My eyes teared up and I thanked God that I was so blessed to be working at this Christian school with such amazing children.

This weekend I went to one of my students' birthday parties. I don't usually go even though they always invite me. When I was in my credential program, one of my teachers said we should go to those parties--that she always went. It was a good chance to break down barriers by entering into the home life. I asked the other kinder teacher the first time I got an invitation, and she said it was up to me. She said she doesn't usually go because she can't go to everybody's. That made sense. I chose to go with that. But at parent teacher conferences, a parent told me his daughter wanted to make sure he invited me to her party. I told him I don't usually go, but since they were moving to Florida due to a job transfer for the military, I might make an exception since it was the last time I would see her. I popped by for a little bit, everyone was surprised to see me. I got to chat with some of the parents. I'm not much of a party person, and it was a little weird--felt like I was on a field trip on a Saturday without having anyone to keep track of. As an adult, I find it terribly odd to go to friends' kid's birthday parties since I don't have any kids of my own. It's not like I'm friends with the kid, or have any of my own to watch. But I got to take a peak into some of the lives of the parents and build some better relationships with them as they shared with me about their jobs and frustrations and other things they're dealing with. It was interesting what they chose to share with me; I'm glad they feel comfortable opening up to me though, and I tried my very best to continue the conversations. I'm not much of a small talk person, so that can be a big challenge for me sometimes.

That's about it for my week of work. I'm terribly exhausted this weekend, even though I got to sleep in. Tomorrow I'm singing at church so I have to be up super early. I'm a little worried about singing--I'm leading three songs that push at the edge of my high chest range. It's hard for me to have the stamina to push through them all with a strong lead voice. I've been singing every day to try and help build up my stamina. I just pray my voice doesn't crack and that I hit all the notes okay! We'll have to wait and see...