Exhausting Paperwork And Behavioral Management Load As A Special Education Preschool Teacher - Looking Forward To An Easier Position Teaching Older And Perhaps Lower Functioning Students In California - 45 Minutes Of Circle Time Using Fingerplays And Show-And-Tell To Keep Kids Engaged
Work / Tape Transcriptions - Olympus Voice Recorder Entry #8 - September 23, 2004 (a)
2004.9.23. (a) (Olympus voice recorder entry #8.) (4:45 audio)
It's September 23rd, 2004, Thursday, 7:37 a.m. I'm almost at school. I got a late start today.
A couple comments about work. I was at school last night till 7:00 pm. Open House. Working on an IEP, which is today. I got up at 5:15 a.m. this morning to work another hour to finish it. It took me about four hours to go over all the evaluation material and create this rough draft that I'll use this afternoon. All on my own time. The only positive thing to say really is that the seven kids I've got -- it was pretty hard at first -- three kids crying for their parents, maybe four at first. And then that stopped after about a week, maybe two weeks for the last one. They're all pretty happy at school now. A couple of distractible, hyper little boys, they're settling quite a bit. They're forming friendships. I'm just very pleased that, for example, when I do circle they're able to sit and attend and behave very well for the duration of the time that we're there [typically 30-45 minutes]. I don't have to remind them to sit that much at all. So I'm pleased with their behavior. There's very little aggressiveness. They don't hurt each other, which is great. I just don't tolerate the hurting. So it's nice to have kids who don't hurt. But it's a lot of work. I'm tired of preschool. It's a great job. But that with this paperwork -- you know, the behaviors they exhibit and then the paperwork the job entails -- just makes it completely overwhelming. I am working so much harder than I did when I first started in this profession [when I worked mostly with nonambulatory, nonverbal students].
So I've been in contact with some administrators on the mainland. I will be looking at a job teaching -- probably I'd like to teach kids with severe handicaps. I can't hack the preschool. Way too much stimulation. It's just unending. And I don't have the training or the desire to create this totally incredible, varied curriculum. We sing some good songs. We learn some basic skills: writing, letters, and sounds, and number recognition. We value each other -- you know, show-and-tell, paying attention to each other, treating each other nicely. But there is so much that I am not doing. And the elementary school environment is quite codependent. It's hard for me. I'd much rather be working with secondary, you know, at a middle school or something, maybe a high school.
Let's see. Lastly, I've heard about sensory integration. It's for these kids that can't sit, who are running around grabbing things all the time. They need to be grounded. They are suffering from a lack of sensory input. Rather than having them take Ritalin, or be medicated for some disorder, I hear they should be wearing vests -- vests that are filled with sand. The sand gives them additional stimulation, and the weight helps to ground them, and reduce their ADHD type behaviors. I look forward to checking that out more.
Comments from June 22, 2013
People say that you can't have a three-year-old sit for 45 minutes, or have a preschool circle time of such a long duration. Well I did, and usually quite successfully. I had grown nearly expert in the use of fingerplays. I had about 200 at my disposal, with many requiring kids to be out of their seats to sing and do various hand or body motions. For kids who REALLY couldn't sit still, I would let them stand by their little chair and rock back and forth as they stood between the knees or outstretched hands of the parent or adult who sat with them; rolling or crawling around at my feet was okay provided they stayed within the small circle area. Second only to our 90 minutes of outdoor recess each day, circle time was key to developing social and cognitive skills. Every day at least two students would sit in the teacher seat, at the front of the circle, to share something of importance: something they did, something they were wearing, anything that was important to them. The other students were coached on how to offer questions and make appropriate comments. I really emphasized this activity -- that was rolled up into the 45 minute circle time -- and I think it contributed to students' growing sense of self-worth.
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