On the one hand, spending a morning with preschoolers can be lovely and simple. Read stories, play, follow routines, talk, play outside, learn about interesting things.
On the other hand, spending a morning with preschoolers can be made frustrating and complicated. And that can be from outside forces, or it can come from me.
I had my second data meeting today, and the main idea was to meet with our teams and talk about how we can plan for small group instruction to work with children on their areas of need. I talked with the afternoon teacher (how rare is that opportunity!) and one of our literacy coaches about how to do it in our short period of time. With their help, I have a tentative plan to do a short small group time every day after morning meeting, starting on Monday.
Here are some of the many things I am thinking about — so that they are crowding my head and I can’t think straight, let alone prioritize and figure out how to get it all done:
- How can I get the breakfast kids (14 out of 19 kids) to eat faster and get back to the room sooner, so I can start morning meeting earlier, so we have time for small groups?
- When will I (and how will I) place the kids into 4 groups? I need to find the time to look at the data I have so far….
- How are we going to manage the Americorps volunteer getting all of her IGDIs (Individual Growth and Development Indicators) done? Especially when I keep needing her in the classroom? Especially when the kindergartner from across the hall spends a good part of his day out in the hallway, sobbing loudly, so that she can’t get our kids to pay attention to her, let alone hear what she is asking them?
- How are we going to manage my assistant getting all the portfolios done, especially when she is gone for 45 min of the morning on her morning and lunch breaks?
- Story time is going badly, for the first time in ages. I need to back up and stick with short, funny, engaging books. That means more Mo Willems, more Pete the Cat, and that also means abandoning richer, more challenging texts that have content and vocabulary related to our themes.
- Which is more important: teaching content via themes, working on basic skills like letters and colors, or working on classroom skills like taking turns, listening to teachers, and cutting with scissors? I can’t do all of them; how do I choose?
- When am I going to look at the teaching rubric, figure out what I want to focus on, notify my observer, and plan for my first formal observation?
- How will I plan for my daily small groups? How will I manage materials? When will I do the planning/organizing?
- Should I come back to school one evening to work? Make my family order a pizza for dinner, since I won’t be there? Maybe then I could get caught up?
- Why am I having to come so early every day? This hasn’t happened in years. Why is this year so much harder?
- What is the right thing to do for the kids?!
I am disappointed in myself, and feeling internal pressure to do better. I also have very tense neck and shoulders, and am worried that I am basically going to give myself another migraine.