Monday, 30 January 2012

A Short Update!

I thought I should write a quick note as today was a pretty good day.

On Monday mornings the kids sit down with one assistant and tell her about their weekends. I thought it would be a good way for the kids to get to know the other adults in the room, and to put everyone on the same level (I don't know how I would manage without the assistants in the room- some days it feels like they do more than I do- and it seems that often, classroom assistants really aren't appreciated as much as they should be). Anyways, one little guy was sitting beside her and had a small paper in his hand. I was watching from the other side of the circle, and getting our newest little one settled on an activity. Another assistant beside me began to laugh, and I turned to see the little guy using the piece of paper to simulate shaving his face, very seriously, then his neck, then turned to the assistant beside him and began "shaving" her neck and face as well. It didn't help that we had the giggles by then, and it sure didn't help when another boy noted, "Miss C. has a moustache!" Then, because it got a few laughs, "Miss K. does too!"

We noted later that we both felt a little defensive and self-conscious, then realized how funny it was.

Our newest little guy had a great day, and so did another boy who has been having a tough time settling in lately (also great that the behaviour consultant was in to see him on a great day too).

The best part of the day began during our center time. As I've mentioned before, there are a few children in the class who are just learning english. They are not exposed to it at home, and often, parents don't speak english or read- in english or their first language. This makes it tricky to get permission forms, notices and special event notices out, but we've all managed so far!

One little boy in our class comes from a home where english is not spoken regularly. In fact, we hadn't heard him speak AT ALL, in english or german, except for spelling his name a handful of times. In fact, he had a hard time getting on the bus in the mornings, and for a long time would not even go to the bathroom at school (though we've been working on that with his sister, who has been wonderful). This little guy has a face that hides all expression most of the time, and he either nods 'yes' or 'no', or just stares when asked a question. We've been worried about him, but didn't want to push too hard in case that caused more anxiety than ever.

Today I was in the hallway playing with a girl on our movement center (I bought a mini trampoline for the hallway!) when an assistant called me over. She whispered, "he's talking!" and we watched from a few tables away as the other assistant had the little boy name colors, shapes and letters- all in english. Keep in mind that we hadn't really heard his voice at all, even in his first language much at this point, and only his name spelled out in english about 5 times.

I think all of us had tears in our eyes- this was pretty huge. For the rest of the day, this little boy came out of his shell, and would answer to the adults in the room using words when asked, and even made faces, played and even joked to one of the assistants to "stand up!" when she was crouching down to get the ball during free play. I hope this was the first of many great days for him- it sure made our day/month/year fantastic!

Other than moustaches and talking kids, today I also caught a little girl singing, "Get Low" (a Lil'Jon song, Mom and Dad, you wouldn't like it) and was told that I was the 'best teacher ever' for making the kids snacks out of celery sticks (the fishing rod), cheese whiz (the bait) and goldfish crackers (the fish to catch)!

All in all, a pretty good day. I'm subbing high school tomorrow, so I'd better get my grown-up clothes out, and math reviews started!

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