I teach a lot of early childhood classes, and I am so grateful to get to work with both children and their parents. I love my job. It is great fun... but sometimes my classes don’t go smoothly. Luckily it doesn’t happen often, but it DOES happen, sometimes.
Some days the energy is just off and my plans don’t go as expected. I often end those types of days shaking my head and saying, “Whoa! What the heck happened today?”
But those “off” days are the days, I believe, that make me a better teacher.
On “off” days, I do more reflecting and thinking about the children, what they need, and what their behavior was trying to tell me. I pay closer attention to them and make appropriate adjustments.
Young children communicate through their behavior. If you watch them carefully, they will show you exactly what they need. When children act out, they are telling us they have NOT mastered the skills necessary for the situation they are in. When this happens in one of my classes, the first thing I do is stop everything and reconnect: through a hug, eye contact, and/or quick conversation. Only after reconnecting, do I move on to requiring a change from them or giving them the freedom to practice some more.
You see, although children are constantly pushing the limits and trying to get everything to go their way, the truth is they need the MEANINGFUL GROWNUPS in their lives to be in charge and in control. Stopping or at least slowing down to reconnect can calm down the craziest of situations and help adjust the perspective, so everyone can move forward in a healthier, happier direction.