Kids are so malleable and impressionable. My first grade students are hilarious. They like to mimic me; they copy what I say in the tone I say it and sometimes don’t have a clue what it is they are saying! They truly learn by example and soak up what they hear and see all around them. The repetitive actions that are displayed to them become their inner dialogue. They really are a product of their environments which puts huge pressure on parents, family members and school staff to be excellent examples, role modeling the behavior in which we want our children to display. Providing a child with positive encouragement will pave the way for their own positive thoughts. By giving them small tasks they can succeed at and slowly increasing the degree of difficulty and having them continually improve allows kids to grow confidence.
I am only here to teach these precious kids for one year. The amount of English I can give them is limited. Their English skills will continue to grow each year and teachers will help challenge them and assist with their ongoing education. On top of English skills, my goal has been to help establish a sense of self-worth in each of my kids by showing them that they are all valuable and special with a variety of different skills. I want to give my kids the seeds of self confidence that can continue growing within them long after we leave. It is so important to remember that there are always little ears and little eyes hearing what we say and watching how we treat others. Our actions speak louder than our words. I hope I can leave my class with more than just new English words. I want to leave them with tools to become the caring, compassionate, loving, generous humans of the future.
To teach grade one has been an incredible ride. They can be rowdy and difficult at times yes but to witness the insurmountable joy they have over the tiniest of things, to literally see the light in their eyes, is an experience more valuable than gold. They have reminded me to see things again through the eyes of a child. When they are rewarded for great effort, they beam, when they get small prizes they are beyond exited, when they earn treats they scream with delight. If I draw a heart at the end of today’s date, they are all smiles.
I have become aware that unconsciously over the last months I too have been finding great joy in the smallest of things.
We spend a lot of time on busses here and they are a great way to see interesting things… On the bus ride to school every morning, one of my favorite things to see is all the ladies, young and old, out on the streets in front of their houses sweeping up previous days dust and debris. As much as shoveling snow is part of my Canadian blood, sweeping is part of the Hondurans. Vacuums are not a thing here and the dust is so ferocious that sweeping multiple times a day is a necessary chore. It makes me happy to see them maintaining order as best as they can.
Another morning I saw an old white haired grandpa out watering a few plants in the front of his house. He was using a broken bucket but it got the job done. His home was falling apart and nearly as old as he was but to see him put care and effort into his plants made my heart soar. Today we were riding the bus home from SPS and they were blasting English music, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan and The Eagles. The other girls and I were in heaven singing along to classics we grew up listening to, remembering the memories and people that were linked to all the songs.
My class finds joy in the smallest of things and I think that although it is my job to teach them, they have retrained me to see the joy in all things even when it’s small. It is always there in every situation, sometimes you just have to change the filter you see things through to find it. Even when the world around us appears to be crumbling we must still take time to find our happiness. It is everywhere.
Miss Pam, 1st Grade Teacher