My STEP Signature Project was to work in a day care facility that provided summer camp for school aged children. I was in a classroom of 40 students and 2 teachers. As one of the teachers, I was responsible for coming up with a daily small group activity, large group activity and summer work to keep up math and reading skills.
One thing that I was truly not expecting was how much these kids and their well-being meant to me. I knew I would enjoy my work and the kids, but I had no idea the emotional impact they would have on me. I found myself not wanting to leave in the afternoons or dreading the weekends because that was 2 days without them. My students taught me so much about learning from younger generations. There were so many new and exciting things that they taught me. This summer I learned how to build a rocket out of Legos and many things like that.
The most important things I learned from my students is that a little bit of love and attention goes a long way. One of the children in my class had Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). This made the child difficult to work with as she often lost her temper, would argue with us, and would purposely make other children in the class upset. I learned so much though from having her in my class. Over the summer I started to notice that if I intentionally asked her how she was doing or showed her that I cared for her throughout the day we would have better days. To see the difference some individualized attention made for her, brought to light how much that could help every other child in my current classroom, and future classroom.
At first it was difficult for me to deal with this student. She would get me so angry and upset in the classroom. I had a talk with one of the other teachers in the classroom and talked about how this child’s behavior was disturbing the whole class. We realized that it no longer could go on. As a solution we reached out to the child’s mom and asked how she suggested we go about helping her daughter. The mom gave us a few suggestions that they use at home.
None of those solutions ended up working and so our supervisor came in one day to observe and sit with the child. After this had occurred, we noticed that as long as the supervisor was sitting with her she didn’t have a meltdown. We talked and had another teacher assigned to the room with us, so that one of us could sit with this child and talk to her throughout the day.
Throughout my relationship with this child and the open relationship I had with the other teachers and the mom of this child we all could work together to figure out a solution for this child. The most meaningful relationship was the one with the child though. We often talked, and I found myself thinking about how much different all the children would be if I got the chance to sit with each of them for a little while each day.
This transformation in my idea of how to approach children and their behavioral issues will be so impactful in me future classroom. As someone who is getting a degree in education I am always thinking about my impact on children and a classroom. Having this child in my class this summer has taught me how to show my students that each of them matter, and that I care about how they are doing in and out of the classroom.