The beginning of the year is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently; starting off a school year is hard work. I might even dare to suggest that it is particularly hard for early childhood teachers, since we are often the child’s first teacher ever.
If I were in a really foul mood (which, after a large glass of wine, I am no longer), I might even say something along the lines of how teaching preschoolers in September is a bit like trying to tame savage, wild beasts. Adorable beasts, but beasts nonetheless. Right now I have 18 kids, only 3 of whom speak English as their first language. As far as I know, none of them have been in school before. They wet their pants, pee on the floor right next to the toilet, don’t know how to wash their hands, and that’s just the bathroom stuff. They push and shove each other, don’t know how or when to say “I’m sorry,” refuse to listen, cry, don’t know how to fold their legs, talk instead of listening, roll on the floor, and run out of the room. I have to teach them everything.
And I will. (I think.) I remember how great last year’s class was, and can’t believe how tough this year’s class is. I lose them completely when I’m reading an awesome book like Knuffle Bunny, and I think I must have forgotten how to do this entirely. Clearly, this is the year when I’ve lost my skill and no longer know what I am doing.
Or is that actually what is happening? Is it possible I have been here before? Just to be sure, I texted last year’s Americorps volunteer to ask. Was it hard this time last year? Because I have no memory of it whatsoever. She made my night by texting back to say, yep, it was really hard, and it took a long time to teach them routines and get into a groove.
Apparently I do this every single year. And then once we are through it, and into October (glorious October!), and the room is humming like a well-oiled machine, I forget everything we have just been through.
Maybe next year, when I am freaking out again, you guys could remind me.