Earlier this week, I finished another school year and this one was one of my favorites. Sometimes there are just classes that will forever hold a special place in your heart because of the collective personalities of the kids, their sense of humor and the way that they love each other. This was definitely one of those classes. I will genuinely miss these guys, which made their graduation bittersweet. I also really love the school I work at and the people I work with, so the end of the school year leaves me feeling grateful and genuinely excited for next year. Next year, I’ll be taking on a different age group, K4, and I can’t wait! I have learned over the last three years that early childhood education is an area of education that I thoroughly enjoy, because it’s challenging and rewarding. I love how much of an impact you can have when you’re helping the kids grasp new concepts, encouraging manners, teaching them how to be good citizens and helping them have more successful school careers.
Working in education these last three years has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. There’s patience, organization, diplomacy, and a slew of other skills you have to polish while educating children. I love how this career path has forced me to think outside of myself and find ways to help others. I like that I can be creative and literally get paid to do just that. I wanted to share 5 things I’ve learned and been reminded of as I work with kids. The more I work with this age group, the more I realize that pretty much all of the basic concepts adults need to be successful in life can be learned in these early years of education.
1. Think of others and how your actions impact them. I realize this is such a basic concept, but in all honesty, there are very few people who seem to do this well. Just setting aside your own feelings for a second and thinking through how your words and actions are going to impact another person is key to friendships, partnerships and marriages.
2. A simple please, thank you and excuse me can go a long way. I mean, really, it’s just manners. And they often seem to be a lost art. It makes my heart so happy when you see these kids opening doors for each other, saying please and trying to use manners in their conversations with adults.
3. Be a bucket filler. We read this book at our school called “Have you filled a bucket today?” and it’s a brilliant way to show students how to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Basically, we are trying to combat bullying before it even begins and show them that building someone up also builds yourself up. It’s a simple lesson in being a good friend.
4. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In this “participation ribbon” society that we’ve somehow created for ourselves, I love that we have the opportunity to teach these kids how to win and how to lose gracefully. Not everyone can win the game, not everyone can win the race and not everyone is going to answer all the questions correctly. It’s better to learn it while you’re young instead of when you get older. I love when I hear the kids say, “It’s not about winning, it’s about having fun.”
5. Say sorry, explain what you’re sorry for and mean it. Just saying “sorry” isn’t enough. You have to be able to say it and explain why you are asking for forgiveness. And then you have to make sure it’s not an empty sorry. As in, try not to do the same thing again.
I love that every day, I get to be reminded and remind these children of such simple life lessons. And as it turns out, these simple life lessons are the foundations on which we build our world view, our relationships and our views of our own selves. I’m so grateful that I get to have this responsibility and privilege of teaching kids how Jesus wants us to treat others. So, teacher friends (and anyone else out there who gets to have an impact on a child’s life), remember that what you do matters more than you know.
Cheers & Happy Summer! xx