The Ups and Downs of Teaching
I have to admit that I am slightly out of my comfort zone when it comes to being a teaching assistant. I love children, but I am not much for disciplining and I can’t shout very loudly. In any leadership position I’ve ever held, it’s been a real struggle for me to be firm, and it’s no different in this scenario. A room full of 6-year-olds are not going to listen if you quietly murmur, “um, listen, please!”
Some days are more difficult than others. Take Wednesday for example. I spent approximately 20 minutes explaining the difference between farm animals and wild animals. We also reviewed animal vocabulary of specific animals that fit into those categories…shark, eagle, lion, cow, chicken, etc. After the lesson, I passed out an activity that asked the students to draw their favorite farm animal and their favorite wild animal. I thought the students really understood the lesson until I noticed that one students drew a butterfly as her favorite farm animal. Fail. I can’t really blame this girl. As a child, if I made a mistake writing a letter, the scratched out blotch would bother me so much that I would turn it into a heart. It’s not far-off to imagine that if I didn’t understand something, I’d just draw a butterfly.
However, some days can be incredibly rewarding…when the children hug me and draw me pictures. Or when they remember words or concepts that I have explained. When they are eager to answer questions, or when they see me in the hallway and say “Hello, teacher!” Those little joys brighten my day and make my job feel worthwhile.
This is a great experience to try a career on for size, but I have learned that teaching is not the best long-term fit for me. I have so much respect for teachers after doing just a small percentage of their job for this short amount of time. I think certain people in this world are gifted with the patience and creativity that equips people to be successful, long-term teachers. Kudos to them!