Well, my first week as a teacher's assistant is officially over! And sadly, it wasn't even a full week. I got sick on Friday. But I'll talk more about that later.
Wednesday (August 13) was the first day of school. I arrived early and helped Mrs. S (the Kindergarten teacher) welcome in the 6 adorable Kindergarteners. We currently have a class of five boys and one girl and all of them are of a different ethnicity.
On the first day of school, everyone (K-12th grade and parents and staff) gathered in our all-purpose room and had the opening assembly. This was probably the first year where I wasn't sitting in the back with my friends. I was in the first row trying to quiet a group of very excited Kindergarteners.
The assembly was very nice (I even got to stand up while I was being introduced) and it ended with everyone dancing to a fun song. During Assembly, I took one of the kids to the bathroom which was actually a sweet experience because she looked so proud of herself when I praised her for washing and drying her hands.
Because we were all new to school and working together as a class, Wednesday was all about learning the rules and learning to get along. Mrs. S and I kept the kids on task which was actually a lot of fun for me. I loved watching them interact and learn to raise their and and sit quietly at a desk.
Thursday was very similar to Wednesday. The kids continued to learn the rules and play together. One of the kids knows very little English but although there is a language barrier, he has had no trouble making friends and keeping up with the work. I enjoyed reading a story to the class and singing Bible songs with them. They are all an absolute delight!
During lunch on Thursday I began to feel achy and feverish. Actually, I had gone to school feeling a bit out of sorts but didn't want to miss school. It's weird. When I was a student, missing school was the best thing for me. Now that I'm a "teacher", I REALLY don't want to miss it. Anyway, I chose to hang on for the remainder of the day because I didn't want to miss out on anything.
Friday morning, I was not well so I texted Mrs. S and the school letting them know that I wasn't going to come. Honestly, I was disappointed. But I ended up sleeping all day and just laying in bed. Later in the afternoon, Mom took me to get a malaria test and thankfully the test was negative. However, the malaria test wasn't fun because my finger wouldn't bleed and I had to be pricked three painful times. Ouch . . I spent the weekend resting and watching movies.
Monday I was very excited to return. It was very sweet that a lot of the staff members and students asked if I was feeling better. I spent the morning laminating some fun activities for the centers. Each day, we let the kids spend some time "playing". They each are given a specific activity to do for 10-15 minutes like sorting colors, using playdough to making numbers or putting together a puzzle. While the kids think that they're just playing for fun, they're actually learning and strengthening motor skills.
While we were working at our desks, it began to storm outside. The thunder was incredibly loud and I'm ashamed to say that Mrs. S and I were probably more frightened by it than the kids. Recess was pretty interesting because it was muddy and wet but none of the kids came back too dirty.
I read to the kids some more and then participated in "Show and Tell". Now, that was a bit embarrassing because I hadn't really brought anything so I showed them all my iPod and talked about its importance to me. Two of the kids remembered to bring their special items and got to tell the class about them. It was very sweet and I had a smile on my face the whole time.
Tuesday I laminated some more activities for the centers and then listened in on the end of the Bible story. The kids are currently learning about Creation and how God created the 7 days. Mrs. S brought out her iPad and showed different pictures of unusual (and hilarious) animals for the kids. A lot of them I had never seen these animals before and I was just as intrigued as the 5 year olds. God is absolutely amazing!!!
I felt like I interacted a lot more with the kids than I had on previous days because I sat with two of the kids and helped them write their names. One was taking a VERY long time but the proud look on his face made it all worth it.
~ Highlights ~
1. Teaching one little kid to make the lowercase "N" by putting "a camel hump after the stick." Even on his own, he was reminding himself to "make the camel hump". Soo cute!
2. Hearing the kids remind each other of the different rules that Mrs. S had told them. They learn very quickly
3. Reading to them
4. Singing Bible songs with lots of actions ("Father Abraham", "My God is So Big", "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes")
5. Recess - I'm the assistant at recess duty and a lot of my older elementary buddies will sit with me and just chat. I really cherish that time because this year, I won't be able to participate in Buddy Day (a student council activity where a secondary student is paired with an elementary student for the year).
6. Listening to one of the kids pray for the class. I couldn't hear a word that he said but they all had their hands together and their eyes closed. Also, at the opening assembly, we were all told to get on our knees and pray for the year. I got a little emotional as the Kindergarteners sat on their knees and prayed with everyone else. Special moments like this don't happen at public schools.
~ Tough Moments ~
1. Feeling a bit inadequate. I am 18 years old and the youngest member on staff. A lot of the staff members were my teachers the year before.
2. Telling the kids to do certain things about 100 times in one day. Little kids have a very hard time listening to instructions and following through.
3. Getting sick AND missing school (not fun when you're a teacher).
4. Nap time. The kids are still getting into the groove of school and haven't actually been sleeping.
~ Prayer Requests ~
1. Pray that we would all stay healthy and safe this year
2. Pray that if there are any students (specifically Kindergarteners) who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, they would ask him into their hearts this year
3. Pray that I would instantly obey God this year as I serve and gain experience
All in all, through the good and the bad, I am very happy that God gave me this opportunity to serve at my school and spend all day with the Kindergarteners. I am looking forward to a very exciting, blessed and experience-filled year!
Check the blog each week for a new update. Some will be short and some will be long!
** There is a special little girl that I helping to find a sponsor for. She is 5 year old Carol from Honduras. You can read more about her AND view her beautiful picture on my Facebook Page. She has touched my heart and I myself wish that I had the money to sponsor her. If you'd like to sponsor her, please let me know and I will notify her Compassion Advocate.