I spent this entire summer with a classroom of 12 silly, rambunctious, amazing, cuddly two year olds. They were a handful and a challenge but made it all worth it. I entered the school as a summer intern. But, after the lead teacher was forced to move back home to Central America to recover from a terrible accident, the assistant teacher and I were left to fend for ourselves.
The first week alone, we were absolutely miserable and felt helpless. This was the first teaching job we had both ever had. There was a child with problems at home; he would come into school with swollen eyes, throwing fits, and falling asleep in the middle of eating lunch. One girl needed her own special one-on-one attention and another child wouldn’t stop hitting her fellow classmates. Safe to say we had our hands full. There were a lot of times we wanted to give up, but we didn’t. We worked together and were each others cheerleaders
We learned each child’s strengths and weaknesses. We figured out how to communicate and reason with each one so they were able to understand and listen. It taught me to find the underlying problem, rather than blaming the child. Children are like sponges, every behavior is learned. Some children just need a hug and to be loved. Others need structure and guidance; boredom leads to destruction. Telling a child “no, because I said so” will never create a lasting, desired behavior. It is imperative to teach a child why they should not act a certain way. For example, “Please do not hit our friends, because that hurts them. You wouldn’t like it if they hit you, would you?” Asking them and putting it into perspective for them made a world of a difference. They are smart, little human beings, capable of understanding right from wrong. We taught them to be responsible, which made our lives so much easier and enjoyable.
This experience has taught me so much about patience. It has tested me and shown me the importance of not taking life too seriously. Whenever I would lose my sense of humor and temper with a child, the entire class would sense my frustration and get out of control. They have taught me to keep my innocence and never stop being a kid at heart. I’ve learned to love each and every one. Some are easier to love than others, I will admit lol.
There is nothing more rewarding than a child’s little world lighting up when they see you. It would make my day when Harrison would randomly kiss me on the cheek or Evelyn would say, “Ms. Alex I love you with all my heart”. Everyone joked that Peggy was my adopted daughter, she was pretty much attached to my hip the entire summer. I will miss them all so much. This is the first job I have left being genuinely sad. It makes me wonder if I am meant to be a teacher, or maybe this has prepared me to make a difference in a little kid’s life in Nicaragua when I go on my mission!!
I am excited for the next chapter!! I am moving to Pismo Beach, California in 5 days. The support has been so humbling and overwhelming. I feel as if my heart is already there and God has a big plan for me. I have high expectations for myself and a lot of people to make proud. Look forward to a lot of updates and reflections to come! ❤