I don’t talk about my day job much on my blog. I’m a teacher. This is my third year teaching preschool. Previously, I taught three year olds and this year I will be teaching four year olds. I worked in the corporate world in Chicago right out of college and decided that I really wanted to go back to school and get my teaching degree. So I piled on the loans for grad school and got my Master’s Degree in Education at DePaul University. My first job was teaching first graders in inner city Chicago. I loved it. But man, it was tough. I had very few resources like if I wanted anything other than paper I had to buy it myself. I was allotted a small amount of paper to be used for copies, worksheets and anything else and once that was gone I had to provide it.
I loved it though. The kids made such an impression on me. I remember one little guy whose Dad was a city bus driver. Every day after school when we dismissed them on to the busy streets of Chicago, his Dad would pick him up in the bus. He rode the bus around Chicago until his Dad was done with his shift. The majority of my class received subsidized breakfast and lunch. Weather permitting we were able to take the kids across the street to a local Y to have a PE class but otherwise, they stayed with us all day. We went to school even when it was snowing unlike Richmond when we stay home during a slushy rain. My years teaching in Chicago broadened my view of the world and opened my eyes to a different way of life.
My experience teaching in the West End of Richmond and now teaching preschool has been vastly different in so many ways. But what I’ve realized now is that regardless of socioeconomic status or any of those other words that define us and divide us, kids are kids. They want to learn. They will sit and listen to a story no matter what happened at home that morning. And I’ve decided that I love watching little eyes learn new things and absorb information. I love watching my three year olds try to say the word “hypothesis” or “cirrocumulus.” Obviously, I love introducing them to big words that may be beyond their years but make them smile just the same. I plan my lessons obsessively. I collect ideas and projects and have filled my Pinterest boards with more ideas than hours in the preschool day.
But I know all of the art projects I have pinned are not the most important part of our day. I know deep down in my heart that even though I can’t wait to implement the new Around-the-World curriculum Sally and I have designed, the subject matter is not what matters. No, see our real job, our first priority, has nothing to do with Pinterest. Now that I’m a mom and a teacher I’ve started to realize things. I realize the only thing that matters and the thing that keeps me coming back each year is that we are there to love them, keep them safe and to make sure their first experience with learning is a good one.