Kindergartners are energetic, curious, messy... kind of like Golden Retriever puppies if puppies could speak and fling boogers at you.
When I first became After-School instructor, I couldn't have imagined the boogers, tears, potty breaks, and just general stickiness I'd face on a day-to-day basis.
I also never expected my time with the Kindergarten classes to be the most rewarding part of my life. On Sunday nights, I find myself too hyped sleep. No, not nerves, but excitement about the fun and hysterics, and of course, the learning of the my tomorrow.
Yes, there's challenges, lots of them, and I come home every evening struggling to stay conscious.
Still, as I've discovered, there's a few awesome benefits to being a Kindergarten instructor.
Silliness is one of my favorite parts of the job. Being silly is something I think we don't get often enough.
At 3:30 PM my class and I head to the benches for mealtime. Once the kids are seated, they start pleading for me to, "Sing Pokemon again, Mr. Ethan!" My energy is low by that point, but I'll sigh, close my eyes, tap my foot, and belt out the famous opener:
"...I wanna be, the very best, like no one ever was!"
My energy comes back. I jump to from student to student, throwing jazz hands and using sporks as microphones. The lunch table devolves into a chorus of cheers and frenetic laughter.
I like being a goofball. Work isn't always the most appropriate place to be silly. At my work, though, I go ham and, the best part is that the kids love silliness almost as much as I love being silly.
Expanding My Vocabulary
I'm learning new words every day. Here's the newest and greatest addition to the compendium I'm creating:
An exclamatory statement used in place of a more inappropriate remark.
Oh, bubblenuggets, I forgot my homework in my cubby!
Arts, Crafts, and A New Collection of Masterpieces
My students and I make artsy-fartsy fun stuff on the daily. Crafts aren't something I've done since grade school.
We've designed paper boats, milk-carton sharks, and one afternoon, we even made slime (which was a messy disaster we all instantly began to regret trying).
They might not be the next Picasso or Da Vinci, but I treat my students' art like I would the Mona Lisa. There's beauty in their work, even if the colored pencil dog turns out looking more like a blob, but it's about the journey, not the destination.
Plus, I get tons of new art to hang on my walls.
Being A Hero, Daily
Sometimes I'll show up to the school already exhausted, trying hard to put on a smile, but it ain't easy bein' Mr. E all the time. I reach the classroom to pick up the kids and BAM, I'm flooded with a steady stream of hugs and "Mr. Ethan!" screams. I see then how important I am to my students, whether I realize it or not.
No, I might not be Superman, and they may not even remember me fifteen years from now. I can still give every student a fun, safe, and super silly learning environment.
I know they'll be better off because of it. And you know what? I'm better now because of it, too.