Saturday, October 31, 2015

Teaching and Class Parties

Dear Teachers (specifically early childhood teachers)

Happy Halloween,

I don't know about any of you but I was exhausted by the end of this week,..but not as exhausted as I have been in previous years...not as exhausted as some of you....

Each year I struggle with my "worth" as a teacher during the holiday season. As I image these days parents struggle with much the same issue. As I watch other teachers prepare for their classroom party and it's all so nice and "pintresty" and just better then mine. Some do it for the kids and they do a fantastic job with all those amazing pintrest games and activities. Some do it for the parents to see as well as for the kids, because parents can be a bit scary and you want them to see what a great job you are doing with their precious child. Some do it because they are natural entertainers and the thought of it doesn't give them a panic attack. Some do it because it's their first year...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only broken teacher out there. Am I the only teacher who thinks extravagant parties for 4 year olds is well extravagant? Am I the only teacher who dreads the holiday season because the social pressure is ridiculous? 

None of these reasons for fun days in a classroom are wrong. I remember my first year Halloween went okay the kids had fun; I was miserable the whole time but the kids had fun, That's what mattered. I had sign-up sheets, and the whole deal... it wasn't done like the previous teacher and I actually had parents complain about it because I didn't invite parents specifically and the one that came didn't like the way I did it. 

I have a standing invite in my classroom "Parents are invited and encouraged to drop by and see whats up at any time."

I struggle with my worth it was my first year and I think it's part of the reason class parties stress me out. I also work alone and have 3 different classes which means I do it all: prep, party, and clean up alone and do it 3 times in 2 days...Since my first year I have worked to de-stress my teaching job, KISS (keep it simple stupid) Kids love anything new and different no matter how simple it is like painting a pumpkin no prep needed. I've found that I have more time to interact with and instruct my students when I keep it simple.

 I've found in my 4 years as a preschool teacher, that parents have mixed feelings about parties just like I do. Some want to come to their child's first school party and it's a huge event. Others (most) like the no pressure approach because they can't get of work, or they have other things to do, or they bring their child to school so they can have some time without them. They like the idea that someone else is going to parade 10-20some kids around in costumes and play games with them. I remember class parties in elementary school and grade school but I don't remember parents there with cameras I don't remember a ton of games. I remember less structure and a ton of candy sent home. I remember being excited.

So, now I have low key parties. Usually one exciting activity (this year we painted pumpkins) and a movie because otherwise the T.V. is not on in my classroom. No sign up sheets for parents to bring things, I found that without the sheet I get a couple of parents who want to bring something and there is a lot less waste in my classroom. Some parents asked if I would need help and I told them it's pretty chill but you are more then welcome to come and chill with us! 

No. Stress. 
If I'm not stressed I can have fun and if I have fun the kids have even more fun.  

Yet I look at other rooms with tons of food that kids take one bite of and throw away, tons a things planned and they are fun things all going with the theme of  Halloween (or whatever holiday; it is) and I struggle. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, Maybe their way is better, they are better at this than me.

but that's not it, not really. It's not about me. It's about God and it's about the children. I'm not a bad teacher because I have social anxiety and  prefer to keep it lowkey. I'm not a bad teacher because I let a movie be part of my party...I'm not a bad teacher and neither are you for doing it all and being super enthusiastic and amazing. 

It's not about me.

This job is stressful enough with out new social standard,s new test standards, and your own personal standards. This job is from the heart...This job is love. You.are.Amazing.

Happy Halloween!

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