Hello, Nest readers! I'm Maggie and I blog at Time of Your Life, Huh Kid? When Emily put out feelers about the Day In HER Life series, I have to admit, I jumped at the opportunity. As a recent teacher’s college graduate, I am incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be working full time in my field. Just in case you’re not from Southern Ontario, here’s the status of the job situation there for teachers, as borrowed from the teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: “The Odds are Never in Our Favor.” So last year, rather than settling with the idea that I’d spend about 5 years on the supply teacher’s list, I went to an International Job Fair and got a teaching job at an International School in Poland. The grade? Kindergarten!
When I first took this job, I was nervous (read: terrified). My comfortable age group is somewhere between grade 2 and grade 5, and kindergarten does NOT come close to falling within those years. But to me, the school was a great fit and I loved the idea of living in Eastern Europe, so I packed my bags last August, and here I am, mid-May, about to finish my first year on the job.
The children may be younger and their academic level lower, but I can guarantee that I probably have more genuine fun each day than I used to fit into a week. There’s something so wonderful about watching a group of five-and-six-year-olds crowd around a snail tank, or have them find books and say “this is like the one you read us!” or “Miss Kerr, I have this book in Korean!”
Also, my ego is never higher than when my kids wrap their arms around my legs and elbows, arguing over who gets to sit beside me during circle time. I mean, of course, it can be incredibly stressful…that goes without saying. But I absolutely love my life and I’m so happy to let you all take a glimpse of it!
Since my school schedule is different every day, I thought that I’d share a few pictures from this year and show some of the fun that we get to have in Kindergarten and how I spend my days. Enjoy!
My first unit of the school year focused on Friendship. One of the activities that we did was make a Friendship Fruit Salad. Each child took their turn cutting up some fruit (grapes, strawberries and melon) and adding it to the bowl. We talked about how each fruit represented someone we wanted in our class: grapes represented friends who shared, strawberries represented people who were kind and helpful, etc. Then, the sneaky ROTTEN BANANA came along. The banana was mean, pushed people, said unkind things…we decided that we didn’t want any rotten bananas in our class OR in our fruit salad!
In October, we were learning about transportation and took a field trip to the Museum of Carriages Galowice. We learned all about how people used to travel in the past, and we even got to sit in a carriage and cook our own sausages over a fire pit! It was a 5-year-old’s dream! My class is difficult to settle down, but man, they are AMAZING on field trips!
Since all of my students speak English as a 2nd language and don’t have many English books at home, almost every week we make a level-appropriate mini-book that we can colour and read to friends and to ourselves. I usually have about 3 different levels of books for students. Here, we made our own copies of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and read them to our friends in Pre-Kindergarten.
My students really weren’t understanding the purpose of making tally marks and graphs, so I gave them a little incentive, and used M&Ms! They had to tally the number of M&Ms by colour, then make a graph showing the M&Ms in their bag. My most popular lesson so far, I think!
One of the most amazing advantages to teaching overseas are the opportunities for travel. This year, I’ve been to Norway, Germany, England, Czech Republic, Spain and Ireland, as well as 2 places I never thought I would ever go – Iceland and Egypt. While these aren’t things that I get to do every day (though wouldn’t that be amazing?!), travelling makes my days so much sweeter!