I have been happily interning at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens for a while now. When I arrive there, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, the kids in the Inclusive Pre-School/Pre-Kindergarten class are having naptime. While they are sleeping, I take care of any projects for that day. That means I could be doing anything from putting in artwork into the kids’ take home folders, organizing some area of the classroom, or putting down special tape so our vision impaired students can better recognize when they are leaving different areas in the room. Then, as the kids start to wake up, they go to the bathroom and put their mats away, and go sit at the play table. Now this may seem like an easy procedure for them, but there are lots of variables, mainly their short attention spans and this can take them up to a half hour even with two teachers and three aides to help them. After, they have math and science. I help the kids with whatever exercise they’re doing, such as Venger drawings with shapes, and encourage them.
Working with a bunch of three to five year olds can be frustrating at any given moment. They throw temper tantrums, have accidents, and don’t listen to you. They run around and play when they are suppose to be working. They don’t sleep all the way through naptime and manage to get distracted just walking up on a flight of steps to aftercare. These “challenges” really test a person’s patience – something I learned I have a lot of.
I really have had the opportunity to learn so much these last few weeks. These kids and my colleagues teach me so many important things. As someone who is planning on teaching special education with the same group, I know that this experience will be so useful for my future plans.