Winter is not a good time for rising early. Once back from our holiday I had a week at home and it was lovely to enjoy the cosiness of my bed for an extra hour or so instead of leaping up in the dark to get ready for school. I thought after all this spoiling it would be difficult to get back into routine again. But I was looking forward to seeing my girls again and I was keen to try out the new teaching materials I’d worked on in the holidays too. I need not have worried – it’s really just a mindset isn’t it. On the first day back I felt as if I’d never been away! The girls were full of excitement and rushed to hug me and it was all I could do to get them to contain themselves before we could settle on the mat to tell our news. Then it was back to work.
I love the third term – in spite of the cold – because suddenly after that mid-year winter holidays, they’re not babies any more. A growth spurt takes place, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Reading takes off, writing becomes neater and suddenly all that prep work in the first six months pays off as they ‘get’ what counting and calculating is all about.
But of course there are also the fresh challenges. This term we will be presenting a pantomime. All the children in the Foundation Phase will take part in “Cinderella and Rockefeller” at the end of September so rehearsals are in full swing. I just happen to have a class of little drama queens and several of them have special parts where they have to speak, sing or recite. So they are frequently called from class to practise their parts. The others have to perform a special dance and the practice for this takes place every Friday morning. So with all the disruption I have to be very creative in the management of teaching time. Happily we are coping and my little girls are coming on so well.
Twice a week after school I am involved in helping with rehearsals which I just love. You see a different side to the kids when they get out there act sing and dance. We have such incredible talent in our school. The parents too are amazing with their support of the children. They are there to drill lines, teach dance, make costumes and build sets. It doesn’t matter how little or much they do, it all goes to making the production a success. What we do in the classroom is certainly important but it is these extra things that enrich the school experience for the children. Drama, music, dance – its all part of the child’s education and I believe they will benefit so much more from it than just what we teach them in the classroom.
Although I am approaching my silver years, I am very much into the didgi-age. I have a laptop, Kindle, I-pod and BlackBerry. I’m into Facebook, Twitter, email and Blogging. So teaching at my school is extra special because our theme this year is Make a Digital Difference. Some of our classrooms already have interactive white boards. Today my principal told me that everybody will have one next year. That is such good news! It means the school will be paying them off for a while – but what a privilege to be able to do that! We are already able to connect to the Internet anywhere in the building and I am already using my laptop and a flat-screen TV to present digital lessons to my kids but having an interactive board is going to be too amazing for words. Most of the staff are thrilled but we do have one or two “Fearful Freds” who dread having to change their trusted teaching methods. My Grade 1 colleagues and I are known as “Ambitious Allices” as we just want to get out there into cyberspace and use it to enhance our teaching. I am so privileged to be with such a fabulous team of innovative teachers. We work so well together, share our talents and support each other. I couldn’t wish to be in a better place right now. How lucky I am to be back in the classroom in a go ahead school where things are happening just the way I like it. Some say I’m nuts to return to work when I’m nearly 60 – but the way I’m feeling now, I might just stay till I’m 90!