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!
You are an amazing educator; flexible and so open to learning. Think that’s what holds you in such good stead! Motivated learners make such good teachers! Good luck. Lucky community all around.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Faige! I think that I’m lucky to learn every day from (and with) amazing people both online and in-person. I’m fortunate to also work with and learn from terrific students. I can’t wait until next year! It’s exciting and scary, and I think that’s what makes it wonderful.
The best advice I have is EMBRACE the MESS. It was the biggest hurdle for me to get over. You’re going to love it 😉
Thanks for the advice, Beth! I’ve learned to do this in Grade 1 this year too. It’s been a bit of a hurdle as well, but I’m quickly learning that all messes can be cleaned up. 🙂 I am so looking forward to next year!
Sing sing sing! Talk talk talk! Play play play! Sing sing sing some more! Read to them. Read to them. Read to them! Oral word play oral word play oral word play and finally let the kids lead the way!!!!! Load them up with experiences and vocabulary so that they have a better chance!!! Congratulations I hope you love it!
P. S. Track down the etfo package of 6 or so books in a plastic bag. The child development one is a must read. I forget what the series is called but all fdk got it a few years ago!
Thanks for the comment and advice, Lori! I love it! I heard about these ETFO Books as well. A teacher at my school has them and said that she’d lend them to me to read over the summer. I can’t wait! I think next year will be a wonderful learning curve, and I honestly couldn’t be more excited!
You will absolutely LOVE FDK!!!! We were one of the first schools to have FDK and although it was challenging at first (washrooms, high numbers, new document, inquiry learning, documentation), it was a joy to go to school every day and see the curiousity and wonder in the kids. We always seemed to have a few inquiries going at once but that was exciting and inspiring. I was in FDK for four years and enjoyed every moment. This year, it was also a time of change for me moving into grade one. I was able to bring my inquiry experience and knowledge of play based learning with me to a new grade. All the best. You will certainly be making even MORE trips to Dollarama come September. 😃
Thanks for the comment, Josie, and for sharing your experiences. I’m very excited about this change. While I keep on trying to bring the FDK experience up to another grade, I’ve never had my own chance with the FDK experience. I can’t wait for that next year! And yes, I have no doubt that I’ll be spending even more at Dollarama (if that’s even possible). 🙂
I am so excited to hear you are going to be in a FDK class!! You will be awesome!
May I point out that EVERY grade you have taught you have been awesome at teaching. My son loved being in Kindergarten with 40 students and you as one of his teachers. My daughter loved being in your Grade 6 class.
FDK is similar to what you already are doing, you talk all the time, you ask questions, all the time, you encourage the kids to lead and you follow, you also document, but you always have documented. When I went to work for the Board I looked at your documentation as a guide. You already do so much of it, it will come naturally to you.
I’m already thinking of what you will post once you are in FDK 🙂
Congrats on your newest adventure! I look forward to having the opportunity to be a supply DECE teacher in your room with you!
Thank you so much Rebecca for the incredibly kind words and the vote of confidence! I really hope that you can supply as a DECE in our room next year too. It would be great to work with you again. I’ve learned so much from so many people — been inspired in so many different ways — and now can’t wait for another learning adventure!