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Kindergarten teachers rank among the least happy careers. Overall, they rank in 38 percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Please note that this number is derived from data we have collected from our Sokanu members only. If one is looking for at least partial explanation of this low happiness quotient, it may lie in some of the fallacies that have surrounded profession. Some prospective Kindergarten teachers may themselves have succumbed to one or more of beliefs held by a portion of the general public, and have subsequently been disappointed when those beliefs prove to be myths. The mission of Kindergarten teachers is to cultivate in children the appropriate foundation needed to develop lifelong learning skills. Throughout this formidable mission, teachers encounter a range of personalities, quirks, levels of apprehension, sensitivity, and enthusiasm. Decisions to enter a field and assume such responsibilities should not be taken lightly. The truth about teaching kindergarten is perhaps best articulate by responding to comments often made about the profession by people who have never been exposed to it: oh, you teach kindergarten-that must be pretty easy. Teaching Kindergarten is not easy. Many seasoned educators will quickly tell you that Kindergarten is the most challenging level to teach. A Kindergarten teacher is charged with unlocking keys to literacy and math in students who generally enter the classroom without knowing any letters or any numbers. This involves much more than simple ABCs and 123s. Current standards for what kindergarteners need to learn include fluently adding and subtracting within 5, decomposing numbers to 10; and reading three-letter consonant-vowel-consonant words, other high-frequency words, and much more. And this is just the academic component of kindergarten education. Add to this, necessity to instill basic manners and social skills around lining up, going to the bathroom, sitting down, putting things away, taking turns, conversing with peers, not getting your way, managing emotions. These things must be taught and foster every day in Kindergarten. They do not just happen, especially in classroom full of students needing different degrees of support in different areas. They also are not easy to teach. It must be fun to play with kids all day. Do you really like Kindergarten? I would guess you would like something a bit more challenging. The concept of play in kindergarten is vastly misunderstand. When children are engaged with books, blocks, and Lego, they are not just playing. They are reading, doing math, learning to share, becoming inquirers, recognizing patterns, making connections, and working on fine motor skills. Unless they are reading stories or working with small group, kindergarten teachers are in constant motion. They are helping, observing, evaluating, nurturing. They are teaching sometimes tire, cranky, crying, tantrum-throwing five-and six-year-olds how to navigate this new world of school. Now that some misconceptions about your career are cleared up, ask yourself if you have what it takes to become a great Kindergarten teacher.
|Yearly promotion||No yearly promotion|
|Relatively large size||Relatively small size|
|Heterogeneous composition||Homogeneous composition|
|Relationships broken at end of school year||Unbroken relationships|
|High child to adult ration||Low child to adult ratio|
|Narrow, homogeneous age grouping||Mixture of several ages|
|Narrow range of activities and events||Wide range of activities and events|
|Little privacy||Some privacy|
|Specific treatment of individuals||Diffuse treatment of individuals|
This tip for new kindergarten teachers is ultra important! Theres nothing worse than nearing dismissal time only to realize youre unsure how student is going home. During orientation, it is a great time to ask parents and then confirm again on first day of school. Make sure parents know what time dismissal is and what procedure is. Double and triple-check how each student will be going home. Write it down or add it to your lesson plans so you can take them with you when bells rings. Another piece of advice is to create name-tags or color-cod paper wrist bands so you can easily identify how each student is going home. For instance, car riders have one colored wrist band, while bus riders have different color. If they are meeting sibling, make sure you or para walk them to older sibling. Do not take students ' word on how they are going home, always verify with parent or guardian.
The best way to start Secret Stories IS to jump right in and do overthink it! Secret Stories give beginning grade learners easy access to all of the code they need to read and write long-before they will be formally introduced by your reading series or phonics program. This IS not a PROBLEMits gift! All you have to DO IS tell a story and then plug in its sound or letter patterns. Telling Secret to explain strange letter behavior will NEVER conflict with anything else you are doingno matter what reading series or even phonics program you are using! It simply gives meaning to letters and sounds that would otherwise have noneand thus, would need to be repeatedly practiced as skills. While Secret Stories are systematic and explicit with introduction of the most-need first, you can also share and use secrets as you need them throughout instructional day! NEVER limit them to just language arts time, because remember, theyre not program, theyre tools for both you and your students! Secrets should NEVER be taught in isolation, but immerse in everything that you DO, and talk about them everywhere you go. Remember to take advantage of every opportunity to make your students ' learning authentic, but dont WAIT too long to introduce all secrets. And to all my fellow kindergarten teachers out there, DO not WAIT for kids to know individual letter sounds before you start telling them secrets! That like waiting for kids to learn Bobs name before introducing them to Tabitha, just because her name has / in it! With Secrets, you can teach them together by singing Better Alphabet Song while simultaneously sharing Secrets! My class actually knew all of Secret Stories before theyd mastered all of the individual letter sound! This IS because there IS no learning curve for Secrets, as kids GET stories instantly, whereas individual sounds are acquired through muscle memory, which can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months with Better Alphabet Song, and most important of all, GET excite! If youre excite, then your kids will be excite! Children are like sponges, soaking up everything around them to grow. And my little sponges grow beyond my wildest expectations! All I had to DO was feed them Secrets, and then watch them grow into real-life readers and writers! PS Please leave any comments or questions below, and NEVER miss Secret by subscribing to Secret email blast here!
Lets talk about kinders knowing what to expect, not monotony. Routine will be the biggest silent force in moving your classroom forward throughout the year. When put in place-routine will buy you back precious teaching moments, actually help you plan lessons more quickly and will empower your students. Your class know what to do, what generally will happen next and you can be whisper teacher. They will eventually not need tons of transition support and you can steal away moments to talk one-on-one, help someone learn to tie their shoes while heading over to rug, or take moment to build up child for the right choice they make. You can plan lessons more efficiently because you know what areas to fill in and it does not I have a random amount of time to fill here, what should we do type of scenario. Youll also be able to reflect better on your most recent lessons and plan where to go next since your brain can more accurately recall that time of day. The opposite is also true, If you lack routine it will be the biggest silent force that works against you throughout the year, stealing moments and making students who crave routine feel uneasy.
Betsy Grob is an Early Childhood Specialist who served on the faculty of Bank Street College for over 20 years. She currently advises students in the Graduate Program in Early Childhood Education at City College and at City Colleges Center for Worker Education, both in New York City. In addition, Grob facilitates professional development for Early Childhood educators in the New York metropolitan area as well as in many countries around the world, including Sierra Leone, Chile, Romania, Mongolia, and Azerbaijan. She has Teach Kindergarten, first grade, and Early Childhood Spanish in New York City and Colorado. Grob is co-author of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Center Classrooms for the 21st Century and is co-author of Right to Learn: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Work in High-Needs Schools. She holds an MS in and EdM in Education, both from Bank Street College. Fretta Reitzes has been classroom teacher, Educational therapist, teaching artist, parent educator, and author. During her thirty-five year tenure at 92 Street Y, she was founder and director of the annual WonderPlay Conference, director of Ys Goldman Center for Youth & Family, and director of the Parenting Center. Presently, she consults with Early Childhood Teachers, administrators, and school leadership. In 2016, Reitzes developed On-Kindness, project that provides tools and perspectives about creating a culture of kindness and presents lectures / workshops at schools, universities and community centers. She is an adjunct faculty at City Colleges Center for Worker Education in New York City. Reitzes is co-author of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Center Classrooms for 21 Century; WonderPlay, and WonderPlay Too!, And Right to Learn: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Work in High-Needs Schools. She holds an MSEd in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College.
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