To say that this past school year was difficult would be an understatement. I have been teaching 10 years. A whole decade. You would think that teaching kindergarten would not be a problem after having several years under my belt, but I must say that it was a whole. different. world. Kinderland. Let me give you a little backstory on my teaching career...
10 years ago, I began teaching fifth grade, and I taught it for another five years. In the meantime, I went back to school, got my master's, got a reading certificate, and decided I wanted to become a reading/intervention specialist. It was my passion! I applied for and got a reading specialist position at my school. Those were the best two years of teaching I could have ever asked for. I helped teachers and struggling students, I taught the GATE class. It was a dream job for me. However, as those of us in education are well aware, budget cuts to education in California have been severe. I was placed back in the classroom in a 2nd/3rd combination class. My husband's health went downhill, I had an infant at the time, and I was devasted having lost my wonderful position...cue the violins. I figured the next school year couldn't be any worse. Never say that. The following year I had a 1st/2nd combination class. Another year with the stress of teaching a combination class, in addition to my family responsibilities, only to find out the next year I would be teaching kindergarten. Sigh. Did you count that up? Four grade levels, three years. Stressful? Yes.
To be honest I was quite resentful to have been placed in kindergarten at the beginning of the year. I felt like I was being stuck there. I freaked out all summer thinking I could hardly handle my own five-year-old and two-year-old, how could I possibly handle 25 kindergarteners!!?? Then the school year started. I cried. Every day. Three or four times a day. The first week of school was AWFUL. I could NOT believe the hand I had been dealt with the students in my class. There were a multitude of behavior problems in addition to the normal five-year-old antics. The first week of school I had the counselor, psychologist, and county psychologist in my classroom observing students. NEVER had I EVER had so many people in my room observing kids. Several nervous breakdowns later, several months later...despite the craziness of kinderland, I have grown to love it. The growth you see in kindergarten is just amazing. The tingly-teary-eyed-teacher-moments, kind of growth. I have never ever told students that I love them, and this year I can honestly say I love LOVED my kids. Even the ones that made my hair fall out.
As resentful as I was at the beginning of last year, this summer I cannot wait for the start of the next school year. I have grown so incredibly much more this year as an educator than I ever have before. I am TPT junkie, and am thinking I might, just might be able to create my own contributions to the education world. So stay tuned...I think good things are on the horizon.