We are officially on our first vacation this school year. As a teacher of Kindergarten students who are always counting things, I can tell with certainty that we have attended school 59 days without a break. Now, the students had a break several weeks ago when we had Parent-Teacher Conferences, but no such luck for the teachers. So, with a full week to celebrate some Panamanian holidays, Team Chowning is geared up and ready to go.
With 59 days under my Kindergarten-Teacher Belt, I have encountered some interesting scenarios and questions. I thought I would make a list of those here. Feel free to help a girl out, if you can.
First, a list of unanswered questions:
1. How many shoes have I tied since the beginning of the year? If you have a kindergarten or 1st grade student, for the sake of their poor teachers, please help them learn to tie their shoes. Untied shoe laces are a great source of worry for my students, especially in the middle of lesson times.
2. How can a child possibly sneeze that many times and STILL have more stuff that can come out? Again, for the sake of your child's teachers, please teach your child how to anticipate a sneeze and get a kleenex prepared for said event. Better yet, teach them how to blow that junk OUT!
3. How can 16 kids possibly make THAT much noise? I'm not sure, but somehow they do.
4. How can one kid talk THAT much? I'm not sure, but I can tell you that I feel like I hear my verbal-processing student talking even in my sleep. I'm not sure if there's ever a time that he isn't talking.
5. Did the inventors of Cheetos know how messy Kindergartners could make that snack? If so, do they have a partnership with hand-wipe companies?
6.What is the absolute fascination with Sharks that Kindergarten boys have? I get that they're cool, but so are some other animals. Let's branch out to other dangerous animals sometime.
7. How can a child sound out c-a-t (each sound correct) and then look up and announce proudly, "DOG!"? Hmmm. I feel like we're missing some pieces here. I've got some work to do.
8. On the other hand, how does a kindergartner already know how to do 2-digit subtraction that requires regrouping (borrowing for those of you who learned subtraction like me)? Looks like I'll be finding extra enrichment assignments for this kid.
And now for some answered questions and things I've learned:
1. Why would anyone teach kindergarten? Yes, this is a question I used to ask myself. Let me tell you. . . I get to see the most wonderful learning moments, hilarious moments, and heart-warming moments. From being asked (almost daily), "How do you say '-----' in English?", to the rest of the class cheering when a student who has been gone for 2-3 days returns, to watching them learn Bible truths, to having them randomly run up and give me hugs, to listening to them explain to their peers in Spanish something I just said in English that some didn't understand, to watching them write in English with their wonderful Spanish phonics, etc. This has been a most rewarding experience.
2. Am I going to like/get along with my teacher assistant? I could not have been blessed with a better helper in my classroom. Tatiana is a God-send. She has been in the K5 classroom for the last 5 years, so she is helping me SO much. She is hilarious, loving, strict, God-honoring, and all around wonderful. She is amazing, and I can't imagine riding this Kindergarten roller coaster without her.
3. Can I make it through until November without a break? Barely, but I did. And a week of vacation never felt so needed.
4. Now that we are in November, exactly how many holidays does Panama have during November? Five holidays. November 3rd: Independence from Colombia. November 4th: Flag day. November 5th: Colon Day (celebrating the province of Colon; this has nothing to do with the human digestive system). November 10th: First Cry of Independence in Los Santos. November 28th: Independence from Spain. Add in the American holiday of Thanksgiving, and we are only in school about 3 weeks during the month of November. You can go back to my post from 11/13/2010, Panama's Independence Day, to see some pictures from some of the parades to celebrate these holidays.
5. What time will I fall asleep each night in order to be able to get up at 5 am every morning and go all day long with teaching Kindergarten? As soon as I get in bed. Gotta be careful that I don't stop moving too early in an evening. Still=Asleep.