I started teaching 14 years ago. At the time, I taught Kindergarten … and I loved it. I ended up teaching Kindergarten for 8 years. I taught combinations of JK only, JK/SK, and SK only classes. I even team-taught for a couple of years, where we had up to 40 Kindergarten students in our classroom … and it was Full-Day, Alternate Day Kindergarten, so we taught almost 80 students that year. All of these teaching experiences were incredible ones, and I totally loved my time in Kindergarten. In my eighth year though, I started to hear about the introduction of the Full-Day, Everyday Kindergarten program model, and I had reservations about the play-based approach. I ran a very structured Kindergarten program with a large focus on academics, and I questioned the value in play-based learning. It was then that I decided to leave Kindergarten. After leaving, I taught everything from Grade 1 to Grade 6 in one form or another: either as a homeroom teacher or as a prep coverage teacher. I really enjoyed all of these experiences, but it was over these years, that I started to better understand play-based and inquiry-based learning. Then, what made me leave Kindergarten, made me want to go back to it.
I’m thrilled to share the news that next year, I’m going to be teaching Senior Kindergarten (all of the Kindergarten classes in Ontario are Full-Day now). My goal for this year was to get uncomfortable. Even though my grade change makes me beyond excited, I know that it’s really going to force me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- I’m going back to a grade that I haven’t taught in six years. Uncomfortable.
- I’m working with a whole new team of teachers and DECEs at a school that I’ve only been at for one year. The team is incredible, and they have all been so welcoming to me, but change can be hard, or at least, uncomfortable.
- I’m sharing a classroom: I’m teaming with a DECE. She’s amazing! We have already had such great conversations and exchanged so many different ideas. But before we could get to this planning stage, we had to connect, and connections are difficult for me. I honestly though couldn’t be happier with this partnership. This has definitely been, comfortably uncomfortable.
Next year, I’m off to do what I seem to do regularly, and make a change. I’ve had a wonderful year in Grade 1 with an incredible group of students, and I know that I can use what I’ve learned from this year to help me in my new grade. What advice would you offer me as I look ahead to next year? I wasn’t ready six years ago, but now, Full-Day Kindergarten, here I come!