Joys of teaching little kids

I used to teach little kids.  I operated my own preschool center, but I didn’t have that many students because I preferred teaching one-on-one.  I would devote two hours to each student… two hours of singing nursery rhymes, coloring activity books,  storytelling, writing ABCs, and at times, watching Barney or Sesame Street videos.  Sometimes, two hours of playtime.

There were mornings when a student and I would stay outside to play catch or hopscotch (for exercise)… or we will count the petals of flowers and talk about different colors.  We will stay outside as we talk about the sun and the clouds and the trees and the birds.  Then as we go back inside, we talk some more.

Dealing with little children can be tiring, but it can also be really fun.  There are so many things that they want to know… so many things that we can teach them.  Exploring the world with them can be a very enriching experience.  A lot of times, I learn new things, myself.  My kids keep me alert all the time.  They make me want to discover new things so I can teach them something.  My worst fear was being posed a question and not being able to come up with a reply — and my answer should always be correct because I wouldn’t want them to learn wrong things from me.  I had to be creative.  I had to be knowledgeable.  I had to keep them excited.

Kids keep you on your toes.  You have you be fast, you have to be alert.  They also test your patience, too.  Their neverending “why” questions can irritate someone who is not patient enough. Fortunately, I think I am one of those who can still answer a child’s 100th why question with a smile on my face and an even voice.   

Yes, there were difficult days.  Days when a student just won’t cooperate and would choose to cry about 3/4 of the whole period.  There were days when a child would rather run around the whole place (and expect me to run after her).  There was a time when I had to carry a three year old for more than an hour because she was afraid of the thunderstorm.  It wouldn’t have been that bad if she were not that heavy, but she was.  I remember my arm and back aching the whole day afterwards.

But more than just the difficult times, the ones I remember most when I look back at my teaching years are the big hugs and the wet, sloppy kisses that my two and three year olds used to give me.  That and the sound of their giggles and laughter.   Oh, and the way they call my name in their sing-song voices.  These are things that will warm my heart forever. 

I believe the best part of my teaching experience was the fact that I was helping shape the minds and the characters of my little students.  Kids look up to adults and who else is expected to teach them what is right or wrong  but us?  More than just the abcs and the 123s, teachers teach about values, about love, sharing, compassion, joy.   And we teach best by example.  By showing them love and patience and making them laugh and enjoying the laughter with them. 

And when you know that you played a part in raising a child, teaching him or her to be a good, decent and loving individual, that is fulfillment enough.  When you know that a child grew up to be happy and secure because you gave the attention that he or she needed, then you can say that you did your part.  And you did it well.