I've successfully completed my first two days of kindergarten!
(I would've done this post after the first day, but the internet was down. Since early Thursday morning. Sigh.)
Kindergarten is a lot of fun! I have twenty precious, tiny people in my class. They really are so cute and loving and sweet. I already love all the kids, and I know I'm really going to enjoy that aspect of teaching kindergarten. We had a great two days together. We went over our rules and procedures, practiced our line behavior, went on a "gingerbread manhunt" all over the school and ate a gingerbread cookie to celebrate finding our way back to the classroom, and played in fun centers.
I think kindergarten is going to be great fun and a great challenge. Here's my thoughts so far...
Things I already love about Kindergarten...
* The kids are sweet as peaches. Happy, smiley, full-of-hugs kids!
* I'm really excited about teaching kids to read. I love to read, and I loved working with first graders on their reading skills, so I'm even more excited about that aspect of kindergarten.
* Behavior problems will be totally different than fourth grade problems... and by different, I mean better and much easier to deal with. So far, the biggest issues seem to be staying in their seat, interrupting, and working quietly.
* I have a huge opportunity to set these kids up for school success for years to come by helping them have a positive attitude about school, learning to respect teachers and treat friends well, and teaching them how to do all those school culture things like walk in line, unpack their things, go through the lunch line, etc.
* I can do all kinds of fun, crafty projects and not worry that they aren't appropriate or are "too cutesy".
* No CRCT stress! :)
* I love having a full-time parapro! Ms. Gina has been a total help these past two days.
* The curriculum is much easier to teach. No last-minute Googling of, "When exactly did the Battle of Kettle Creek take place?" in preparation for teaching Social Studies like in the fourth grade.
Things that have me worried...
* Kindergartners go, go, go! They are busy, chatty little people with short attention spans. I've got to get used to that and plan accordingly.
* Kindergarten classes have shorter special areas classes. Only 25 minutes long... that's a very short planning time for me.
* Kindergarten classes only get 20 minutes for recess instead of 30. That's a very short break for busy, active kids!
* We have to eat lunch with our classes this year, so no more duty-free lunch. That makes for a very long day for me.
*We've lengthened our school day by twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the afternoon. So, now I get my kids at 7:35 am and dismissal begins at 2:20 pm. (It was 7:50 - 2:00 last year.) And, the new car rider procedure is taking a long time right now... like about an hour. So, I've really got kids until 3:00. I'm hoping that car rider process will get faster. Staying energetic and upbeat from 7:35 - 3:00 with only a 25 minute time without kids is exhausting.
* Our team is supposed to plan collaboratively on Mondays from 2:45 - 3:30. That's 16 teachers trying to plan one whole week of instruction together in only 45 minutes. I'm worried about the logistics of that.
So, as you can see, I'm very excited about actually working with my kids, and not too excited about the scheduling/logistics aspects of the job. I think those things will work themselves out, and my stamina for being go-go-go will build as I get used to the schedule.
I'm excited to see all the kids on Monday and start a more academic schedule. I'm implementing phonics, literacy centers, math, and math centers next week. In two more weeks, I'll bring in Writers/Readers Workshop and Science/Social Studies. I'm all planned and ready for next week, I left work yesterday by 3:45, and I didn't bring one bit of work home home for the weekend! A pretty good way to start the year, right?!? Hooray for Kindergarten!