Thursday, April 5, 2012

A New Adventure

Once I completed my Master's degree program in Early Childhood education, I tucked my new degree into my belt, and since I needed to pay for this piece of paper, I decided to leave the magical, special preschool where I had taught for the the last 10 years, and find a teaching position that offered more money, benefits, and the opportunity for advancement.

I was fortunate to be offered a position in the local school district. Teaching two year olds. After I enthusiastically accepted the position, I hung up the phone, and repeated, "Teaching two year olds? What does one teach a two year old?"

I was at a loss. All of my expertise was working with three year olds. I was good with three year olds. How in the world was I going to create a warm and engaging classroom for two year olds? Plus, I would be changing diapers. That whole celebration I had when my youngest was FINALLY out of diapers was apparently in vain. Panic started to set in. The bit of information that caused full blown panic? "Your class has 25 students."

25 two-year-olds? In diapers? Holy cow, how on earth was I going to manage this?

I walk in on the first day to a bunch of very small children running around. A LOT of very small children running around. A lot of small children running around...wearing diapers. The changing table is in the front of the room, gleaming and mocking me.

I am trying to wrap my head around how I am going to change 25 diapers. How can I possible keep 25 bottoms fresh and clean and teach them things? Can I teach children this young things?

My first day was...let's say...not perfect. I felt like all I did was change diapers, catch toys that were being tossed around the room, and during nap time I spent 1 hour and 38 minutes trying to calm a screaming child. Who tried to bite me. Twice.

So glad I got that degree.

By the end of the first week, I had established my countdown to the end of the year, and ran myself ragged trying to just make sure I had as many kids at the end of the day that I started out with.

That first weekend I analyzed why I was running so ragged. What is the key to a calm and easy to manage classroom? The students need to be engaged. They need to know what is expected of them. They need to have structure.

And thus began my adventure in the world of the two-year-olds.