16 September 2009

This is the way we wash our hands...

That's my view about 40% of the time I'm at work. Sometimes it's the boys' bathroom, which is right next door. Because this is my unofficial post, I do a lot of bathrooming related reminding; remember to wash your hands, please turn off the water while you rub your hands, let's sing a hand washing song.

We ask the children to sing a song to themselves while they wash their hands to make sure they are washing their hands for a reasonable amount of time to get most of the germs off. The suggested song has been Happy Birthday, but I think it may confuse the birthday issue, so I prefer this one, sung to the tune of "This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes":

This is the way we wash our hands,
Wash our hands,
Wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands,
So they're nice and clean!

In general, the time I do spend in the classroom has been alright. The class is definitely not normalized, which is to be expected. What I didn't expect was how tired I would be! Of course, everyone warns that the first month and possibly first 6 weeks will be tiring as the foundations are set with each individual child and then the group as a whole. The integration of the new children is a slow process, but the reward of a normalized classroom will be well worth the work and wait. I thought that managing my own classroom of 19+ children who were all 3 or 4 years old would have adequately prepared me for this. Was I ever wrong. Maybe the difference is that this year, the room is not "mine" in the sense that I am not the lead teacher. It is not up to me to set the ground rules or organization of the space, physical or interpersonal.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by it all really. Being a very sensory person, I think I am more easily over stimulated, by sounds, sights, touches. In an as yet non-normalized Montessori classroom, those things abound. With no breaks in the day, barely a chance to get a sip of tea or run walk quickly to the bathroom, at times I wonder what I'm doing. Besides, I am always thinking about my classes, homework and upcoming exams in the back of my mind. To be honest, I relish those frequent trips to the bathroom hallway for the quiet and time for me to stand still for a few minutes.

10 September 2009


I feel like I have officially changed schools. I received a pair of keys to get in to MSM yesterday. In honour of the occasion (and also because we have to carry our keys around all the time), I made the key holder pictured. It was pretty simple to make and after testing it today, I think it's also good at serving its purpose. The idea was for a key holder that would be easily accessible even when my hands are fairly full and could be worn unnoticeably even if I don't have pockets. The holder is attached to a belt loop with the snap strap on the back. The keys are attached to a hair tie which is anchored to the holder by being sewn into the seam and also by the little felt stopper at the back. Finally, the holder is lined with felt to silence the keys while they're not in use.

08 September 2009

Here we go!

I guess I took an unannounced vacation from blogging for the summer. I didn't intend to, and it's certainly not because nothing interesting was happening. In fact I think the cause was too much happening and me being too caught up in all the studying, learning, worrying and relaxing.

But now, I'm back. The real world that is the school year is back and I'm stuck with it, even though I don't feel ready. Tomorrow is our first day of school with children (we worked on classrooms all last week and today). Fortunately, McLean only has returning children starting school this week. We don't get all the little newbies until Monday. So for this week, the children will all know more about what is supposed to be happening than me. That's ok; children can be the best teachers.

Many people have been asking me about nerves or if I am feeling anxious. Strangely, I feel less anxious than I expected. In keeping with the theme of unfortunate happenings, my lead teacher is not here for the start of the school year, so I am a bit worried about having to deal with parents' and children's questions. Mostly though, I am concerned about the children liking me and my liking the children. I really loved "my babies" at GHS, and I am afraid I won't be able to feel the same way for these new children. I know this is silly and I am sure that the children will like me and I will like them back. But that's my top worry; not the lessons I'm supposed to be able to give, not the new routine which I barely know anything about, not the fact that I don't know how to give lessons on half the materials in the room. I guess we'll just have to see how I am feeling tomorrow afternoon!
In the meantime, I have been spending evenings trying to motivate myself to work on my Practical Life binder and exam which are due in 3 weeks. I've also been working on things for the classroom. I made fabric murals for our three bulletin boards again. I will have to try to get a photo of it. I've made a number of things for the room to personalise things for the children. I decided the room theme for the year will be bumble bees, so each child has a named bee hanging on the bulletin boards until they do some artwork to put up instead. I'm quite proud of my little bee design.