Friday Two Cents: The Greatest Happiness


This week I was able to work in a couple of different schools kindergarten classrooms as a supply Early Childhood Educator (ECE). It felt good to see, experience and learn different ways of running a class from experienced people with diverse teaching styles.

But the one thing that is difficult for me is to try to connect with a new group of students on a daily basis. I know that I have to be professional but when you are teaching and dealing with students that are 3 – 5 years of age, you cannot ignore that ‘care’ part of the position. I have worked with older students and they too require care and comfort but it’s a different type with the kindergarten students. They look to you more and expect more from you. It’s like you are the most important person next to their family members. It’s a great responsibility to hold when you have 30 of them looking up to you for everything from support and comfort to protection and security.
The biggest challenge for me is to how to make them feel comfortable with me. Most of the time they have a woman present and that societal perception that women teachers are seen as mother figures and men are strangers, is a hard one to break. So I look to my strengths to try to help bridge the gap between us. So I use my artistic talents.
The students in the class today were filling out their journeys and the theme or task was to draw your best friend and then write why they are your best friends? They would draw and because many were very young the teacher and I would dictate what they wanted to say. It went very well and I helped a few. But some needed some extra help with the drawing part. I therefore took a scrap paper and drew a friend of mine, to help guide them on what features/details to add to their drawing. Many were surprised and looked at my drawing of a cartoon character with delight.  We talked about what features are on a face, eyes, nose, mouth, hair and then the rest of the body. They started to come around me and they were asking me questions and to help them with writing down what they were drawing.

A quick drawing of Elsa and Anna for the kindergarten students.

I felt good.  After, they had learning centres and many asked me to come to the creative centre.   There were mostly girls there and the majority were talking about Frozen and the characters Elsa and Anna. They also had a book to help motivate their creativity. So I sat down and talked to them and they asked if I could draw Elsa and Anna. I said yes.  While I was drawing it I encouraged them to draw the two characters too. A few were but many were watching me draw the picture. Other students came over to watch me and they also started asking me questions and not just about drawing. They wanted to know about me and it felt like they were beginning to trust me. The nice part was when I was leaving for the day and they all said a sad good-bye and a few asked if I was going to come back. Drawing that picture brought some joy into those students’ lives. Amazing that something that took me only 5 – 10 minutes to draw could invoke such happiness.
This experience brought to mind a quote I remembered:
“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
These words truly rang true today. I used my talents to bring some happiness to those students today. In the end, that knowledge gave me the greatest happiness.

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