Luckily, I know most of my students well because I was with them in the first-year classroom last year. The children, their families, and I have built trusting and comfortable relationships and we are all eager to grow and learn during the 2009-2010 school year.
This growing and learning leads to many questions and concerns regarding my planning for our classroom. I would like to make sure the children in my classroom, both those with autism and those without, are well prepared for their transition into kindergarten next year. (Some will attend their third year in preschool due to their age or specific needs, but all will move on from our program.)
Kindergarten expectations are higher than what I remember from my childhood. Back then, I learned all about letter sounds from the Letter People, I was still working on writing my name, and the only thing I was tested on was vision and my ability to tie my shoes. (I’m sure there was more, but at that age I was more concerned with playing outside.) Children are expected to enter kindergarten with so much nowadays; it’s nerve-racking to think I’m responsible for teaching them all they will need to know.
Another new “lead teacher task” I am trying not to lose sleep over is my responsibility for supervising collegiate-level students within my classroom. I want them to walk away from this experience knowing all they can know, take their knowledge out into the wonderful world of education to spread to other professionals. Most importantly, I want them to love what they are doing regardless of how difficult it may be sometimes. This, however, proves to be difficult because I am still learning all there is to know myself. Yet I still can’t help but have high expectations for the staff, children, and student teachers in my classroom. I must keep in mind that we are ALL learning together. Building healthy, trusting, professional relationships will be the key.
Despite all the stress I may face for the next nine months, I know that I have a fabulously supportive and humorous team surrounding me! I am able to go to my co-teacher, speech therapist, director, or really anyone in our center at any time to seek advice or knowledge—or just to vent on a tough day. Throughout it all I am so thankful to be where I am, with the people I am with, doing what I do. Because I absolutely, positively, without a doubt LOVE what I do.
And now I have a therapy session in the form of this blog to help me, too!