I know as a parent that I know my kids really well. I know what their strengths are, I know what their weaknesses are, and I have the idea of what I want my kids to have as a part of my family.
As a teacher, I know that teachers bring a very different perspective. We are experts in whatever age range that we’re teaching. I know what a four-year-old needs in the broader context of being a four-year-old and what skills I can give each student at this specific age.
I had a student who came in, and he started halfway through the school year. He had a lot of trouble with regulating his emotions, navigating conflicts. He would throw things, kick, bite. But as he continued on in the year with me, he grew tremendously. He was better able to ask for what he needed.
But as the school year came to an end, he lacked a lot of the skills that I knew he would need to be successful in kindergarten. After speaking to his parents, we decided that it would be best for him to return back to preschool. So what we did was he returned back to my classroom for a whole nother year.
And after that year, he made so many gains in his development, not only socially and emotionally, but also academically. After he went to kindergarten, all of his teachers were saying that he became a leader in the classroom.
He was able to really take ownership of how to navigate all these school skills and apply those in his context in kindergarten. And I don’t think that would’ve been possible if I hadn’t had him for almost two years and built that relationship with him, with his family, to really help him develop all of his school readiness skills.
I’d really want people to take away how important that relationship building aspect is to the growth and development of a child. I don’t even think I would’ve been able to suggest to mom and suggest to our administration to repeat another year in preschool if I hadn’t built that relationship with his family and built that relationship with him to be able to support him in his growth.
And so a lot of what we do is only possible and only impactful because of how much time and energy and resources we put into just getting to know our students — and really creating that bond and that relationship with them.
I love teaching. I’m only able to do that because where I work, I’m seen as an expert and I’m allowed to make the decisions I need to for my students. I have that autonomy in my classroom. And so if I feel like my students need a certain experience, I have that ability to give that experience to them.
Pre-K Teacher at Beard Elementary