I have spent the majority of this summer with three to five year-old students.
Joking with a friend the other day, I said that after weeks upon weeks of smiling and saying ‘good job! Awesome!’ over and over, I am either going to become a much nicer person or go completely catatonic.I forgot to mention option three, which is becoming a complete sicko!
Some of those whiney four-year old voices are starting to infect my dreams- like little paint-splattered mini Freddie Kruegers in crocs….‘I need to wash my hands Miss Jesssssss! Or stab you in your dreams with these child-safe scissors.‘ Their screeches and wails and nasal little complaints are hiding out in my brain cells when I turn out the lights, expecting silence. It’s wearing on my energy levels, my blood sugar, and my patience in the classroom.
I think next year I’m hiring Pennywise the Clown as my teaching assistant. In fact, anyone from the Die Horror Cut Collection created by artist Max Dalton can join my faculty. I’m not sure who everyone is- what’s with the TV and who is the guy in the long red robe? And what in the name of Sweet Baby Jane is that decaying looking figure on the right of what I’m guessing is Cujo? How many can you name?
Sometimes when I get frustrated, I just want to pull out my inner psychopath and scare them straight. “All of the kids still talking by the time I count to three will
lose their heads go to the office!” I usually try really hard to reward the few who ARE behaving by complimenting them loudly in front of the others. “I really appreciate how Sally is standing up straight and paying attention! ” That often works in inspiring the others to follow suit without me having to go all Tutu Chainsaw Massacre on them. I would love to be a teacher that can always teach with positive reinforcements, rather than threats or punishment or all-out violence. But sometimes it seems like the little ones don’t always respond to that and it would just be so much easier to feed them to a crocodile raise my voice. In those moments, I occasionally wish I had Captain Hook, or the ‘I know What you Did Last Summer’ guy there to do the dirty work for me.
Tag-team teaching. Pennywise- You’re it.