As the year has gone on I have been posting videos, photos, and little stories about my kids here in Torremolinos. This year was a big change for me, I went from teaching primary age kids to teaching infantil….preschool. I was now working with 3, 4, 5 year olds, and 1st level (kindergarten)….WOOF. Last year I was able to work on my teaching skills and including supplementary activities to my classes, this year it was been an on going fight with classroom management. I have had my patience tested before as a Personal Care Assistant, but these kids top the cake. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to tell kids that you cannot pick your tablemates nose, you can only pick yours. Or that you need to keep your pants on in class. It’s these small life lessons that I wasn’t prepared to have to teach. It’s a lot easier to teach history to kids who know how to sit and properly behave in a classroom. Just look at how many kids aren’t paying attention in this clip: http://vimeo.com/92459531
With that said I have had to take different approaches to classroom management and punishments (yes, I have sat with a whole class of 6 year olds during recreo) so that these kids actually learn something from their bad behavior. That means taking away special “American surprises” aka a cool English worksheet. I have excluded students from a game or activity because they can’t play well or listen to directions. My personal favorite is telling them that they have embarrassed me and I won’t be coming to English class the next day (little do they know that they next time they have English class with me is in two days…).
Here is a little of what I deal with in the 3 year old classes: http://vimeo.com/92459532
Even though there had been some difficult times, there are some really enjoyable ones. These kids are always sooooo excited to see me when I walk in to class. Or when I’m out on the patio they love yelling random English words at me. Also they are just so young, that I literally blow their minds away with anything I explain about my life in America. It also has been a blast to bring my friends and family to school and show them off. I will never forget how silent my 3 year olds were when my brother and his girlfriend Lauren walked into class with me. Now these kids to this very day look at me like I’m a huge giant, so you can picture their faces when my brother walked in. I’ve also had a blast going on excursions with my kids and having them actually use the English they have been taught. I went with my first level students to the zoo and I was taken a back by how much the kids retained from names of animals to the environment they lived in.
I’m not going to lie, I’m relieved that my time as a preschool teacher has come to an end. While I was helping out at an academy, I worked with students who we’re taking their B1, B2, and C1 in English, most being in instituto (high school) and universidad (college). No words can describe how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me that I am definitely here to teach older kids.