Tag Archives: preschool teacher

Running an Errand

This morning, I was tidying up our circle time area and found a book that Ms. Lauren had loaned me that I needed to return. Since I’m still struggling to get around quickly, I decided to utilize my “teacher helper” job and send one of my preschoolers down the hall to return the book.

Thinking that this first errand might be a little daunting alone, I sent a buddy along with my teacher helper. Standing in the hallway, I offered encouragement to my suddenly shy friends. “Go on. Knock on the door.” They disappeared into the doorway, and I waited for them to return.

Two heads peeked out, smiles spread across their faces, and as they emerged into the hallway, I noticed they still had the book with them. “Guys, you have to knock on the door louder. She’ll come and you can give it to her.”

Giggling, they tried again. And again, after a minute out of sight, they reappeared in the hallway, still clutching the book. Now I’m giggling, wondering whether to walk down and help them.

More reassurances. More trepidation and nerves. It’s time to call in reinforcements.

I called upon Alani, my not-afraid-of-anything spitfire, to help them. She gladly tiptoe-ran down the hallway to assist her too-shy friends. Confidently, Alani knocked on the door, and Ms. Lauren opened it, to the surprise of my little ones. They handed over the book, and all three ran back to me, proud smiles plastered on their faces.

I’m glad I didn’t go save them. One step closer to the independence I am trying to instill. They’ll be ready next time another errand presents itself.

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Hello There…

Hello There…

I am learning to love me again, to embrace the very me-ness I possess inside, and express myself freely.

I keep secrets, a writer’s notebook, and memories of my travels.

I wish I could travel anywhere and everywhere for a year, with no regard for money (Who wants to sponsor me? haha).

I love mango sticky rice, iced chai tea lattes, pomelo, new books, blogging, sleeping in, goat cheese, dragonfruit, sharing stories, laughing, and filling my passport with stamps.

I dance ridiculously when I’m excited about something, usually making my friends laugh in the process.

I sing along with most songs, regardless of where I am and regardless of my mostly off-key voice. I have this innate gift of being able to pick up a song after hearing it a couple of times. I can’t promise you the lyrics are exactly right, but they’re close enough!

I think often about going back to school for another Master’s, possibly in school counseling or early childhood education. I’m in the research phase at the moment.

I really would like to be able to walk right now without the aide of crutches- hoping my ankle heals quickly!

I need less stuff than I thought I needed a year ago.

I should exercise more than I do, which is something I intend on starting once my ankle is healed.

I can teach preschool, despite thinking that it was something I could never do. And I’m actually pretty good at it, too.

I make a difference in the lives of my students, and they do in mine.

I always put others first; I’m working on that.

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Right Where I’m Supposed to Be

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be teaching preschool in Thailand, I would have fell on the floor laughing and told you that you were crazy. Heck, if you had mentioned it a few months ago, I would have had the same response. But here I am, living in Bangkok and teaching preschool.

I was chatting this afternoon with my friend Melissa, who works at the same school and has joined the SOL challenge this year, and we were laughing about my day and my super adorable kiddos, when she posed the question, “Would you have ever thought that you’d be here doing this one year ago?” Smiling, I told her there’s no way that thought would have ever entered my mind, but somehow, I know this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? You think you’re supposed to do one thing, but there’s a whole other plan out there that you aren’t even aware of, and it turns out, their plan is perfect for you. It’s just what you need. Well, it was just what I needed anyway.

Being in Thailand, at this moment in my life, is so unbelievably, serendipitously perfect. Living in my new-found simplicity (more on that in a later post), surrounded by some pretty amazing people, has allowed me space to heal. Something I thought would take forever to happen has begun so quickly. The layers of hurt and fear and junk that I’ve piled on over the last year and a half have begun to slough off, leaving me feeling lighter, more like me. Things still creep up on me, reminding me of the past and bringing me back to those old feelings, but those incidents are far less frequent than they used to be.

Other than my good friend Lauren, who I knew before I came to Bangkok and who has been my biggest support here, everyone else I’ve met is new. Despite my newness, I have developed fast friendships with a few people, and I couldn’t imagine my time here without them. They encourage me, support me in times of doubt, and spend lots of time with me, chatting about life and exploring this incredible city. I already know I’ll shed more than a few tears when I leave.

And then, there’s the whole teaching preschool thing! Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be teaching preschool. The fact that I am, and even more, the fact that I’m enjoying it, is huge! I always looked at early childhood teachers with a mix of wonder, respect, and confusion. I mean, who in their right mind chooses to work with little (and I mean little) kids all day! Well, having taken advantage of being in the right place at the right time and accepting this position, I can honestly say I get it. I know why they do it. Three- to four-year-olds are so full of life! They are unapologetically themselves. They say what they think, they question, they explore, and they do what feels good. What a way to live!

I’m savoring this season in my life, taking each day as it comes, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else unfolds on this new adventure I’m on…it’s sure to be a wild ride!

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Year 7, Day 1.

I can’t believe that today is the first day of my seventh Slice of Life Story Challenge! I have so been looking forward to March 1st, for a number of reasons. For one, I know the challenge will kick start my writing again. I’ve been stagnant for a while now, and the SOLSC always gets me revved up for writing! Secondly, I am excited to get back into the SOL community again, as well as meet new writing friends around the world. And lastly, 2016 was a rough year (like a really rough year) for me. One of my goals for 2017 was to get back to being “me” and a big part of that is tapping into the writer in me. For these reasons and more, I’m ready to begin this challenge. Bring it on!

For those of you who don’t know me yet, here’s some insight into who I am.

My name’s Jennifer, and while I’m originally from Texas, I’m currently living and working in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ve been an expat for the past seven years, and so far I’ve lived in Sydney, Shanghai, Albania, and now Bangkok.

I’m majorly obsessed with goat cheese. It’s pretty much one of the best foods ever invented. I like it plain, on crackers or bread, on pasta, in a quiche, with some figs or jam or nuts, on a pizza, on a sandwich…well, pretty much on anything!

I’m really into neon and bright colors, and the fact that I can’t wear anything but dark, neutral colors at the moment (the king died in Bangkok and everyone’s in mourning for a year) is slowly killing me.

I am soooo in love with the TV show This is Us. It tugs at my heart strings and makes me cry nearly every episode, but the characters are so real and lovable that I can’t get enough. I totally love Randall and Jack. OMG…if you are not watching this show, you are missing out!

I’m currently teaching preschool, and while it’s totally new to me, I’m actually loving it (most of the time anyway). I have the cutest class of students on the planet who keep me smiling all day. Even when I’m frustrated with them, they still make me laugh. Oh, and I get hugs all day long, so I’m pretty sure I have the coolest job ever.

My family is really important to me, and while I only see them twice a year, I enjoy the time we have together. I try to make time for each of them while I’m home. It helps me feel closer to them since I miss out on so much the rest of the year.

I model, seek out, and connect to authenticity, honesty, vulnerability, and openness.

I’m a travel addict. I’ve been to 5 continents and 35 countries so far, and yet there’s still so much more out there I haven’t seen! I revel in the anticipation of a trip, and once I’m there, I love finding the little treasures that exist and make this place special. My style of travel is more unplanned and spontaneous. I go with a very loose plan of what I want to do, but am open to possibilities that present themselves. I much prefer seeing more of one place than seeing more places, so I’m likely to stay in one city longer rather than bounce around from city to city or country to country.

I’m a fellow soul searcher, seeking happiness in the small moments in life. While I acknowledge hardships (at some points in my life, more often than I’d like), I tend to focus on the positive aspects that life presents.

I love to laugh and make others laugh. When I’m super excited about something, I usually do some sort of ridiculous dance, which is pretty hilarious given my total lack of rhythm.

I’m really excited to begin this month-long journey with you, and I look forward to getting to know you more through your words. Write on!

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If you’d like to join me in the Slice of Life Challenge this year, head over to Two Writing Teachers for more info!

 

A Different Valentine’s Day

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Today was a different kind of Valentine’s Day for me. I recently began teaching preschool, and so far I’m having a blast! I’m learning new things about this age group all the time, and my days are filled with smiles, laughs, hugs, and fun. Today was my first holiday party in preschool, and while I’ve hosted many Valentine’s parties in elementary school, preschool is a different story!

One thing I’ve learned about (well, not so much learned as solidified my thinking about) preschoolers is that they need routine. Anything out of the ordinary turns their world upside down. So, a day where we get to dress out of uniform, hand out Valentine’s cards and candy, and have a party filled with treats is definitely out of our routine. From the moment my little ones arrived, they were literally bouncing around the room, unable to contain their excitement of the day ahead.

We began the day normally, practicing our writing, but they were having difficulty concentrating. After that, we moved to the carpet for calendar time, where we review our day and basics like colors, numbers, letters, etc. They were having none of it. Imagine ten preschoolers, all doing their own thing…rolling around on the carpet, talking to their friends, interrupting other friends, getting up off the carpet to show me their Valentine’s cards, looking around the room, taking off their shoes, etc. My attempts at normalcy were thwarted by the buzz of Valentine excitement in the air. To get our wiggles out, we sang and danced to our favorite song, Freeze Dance. OK, let’s try this again. Same thing. Chaos. Well, that didn’t work. Now what? I shut off all the lights and led them in some breathing exercises, practicing being mindful. That seemed to calm them down a bit.

Giving up on calendar time, we got in a circle to talk about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. I shared that Valentine’s Day was a day to show people that we like or love them and to be good friends. I said we would go around the circle and share what we like about our friends. Modeling for them, I shared that I liked Captain’s smile, and how it always made me smile to see him so happy. “Who wants to share something they like about their friend?”

Alani raised her hand. I asked her who she wanted to talk about. “Rosie.”

“And what do you like about Rosie?”

A big grin spread across her face. “Cupcakes!”

“Alani, what do you like about Rosie?”

“I like cupcakes.”

“OK, but what do you like about Rosie?”

“I like when she gives me cupcakes.”

Chuckling to myself, I had to give it to her. I’d like it if someone gave me cupcakes, too. Mind you, no one had given Alani cupcakes today. Preschoolers are just funny.

“Who else would like to share something they like about their friends?”

J.J. raised his hand, and said that he wanted to share something about James.

“OK, great. J.J., what do you like about James?”

“Cookies.”

Clearly we are not understanding the concept. At that point, I shared a few more examples of what I liked about different friends in the class. “I like how Lanla is such a good listener. I like how excited and full of life Alani is. I like how Lali always helps her friends. I like how Namping always uses English when he talks to his friends.”

“Let’s try this again. Who wants to share?”

Saint raised his hand. He, too, wanted to share what he liked about James.

“OK, Saint, what do you like about James?”

“Pee pee.”

Laughter erupts in the classroom. Everyone thinks this is the funniest thing they have ever heard.

“Now Saint, is that nice to say about our friend? We use kind words in our class.”

The giggling doesn’t stop. Looking up at the clock, I am relieved to see that it’s time for P.E. “OK everybody, let’s line up.”

After recess, we had our party, complete with making jam sandwiches cut into hearts, decorating cookies, and making Valentine’s cards for our moms and dads. We passed out our Valentine’s cards and had a blast opening them up after nap time. A day filled with fun and laughter is always good, but I sure hope we can get back to normal tomorrow. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! ❤