Monday, August 9, 2010
New Year, New Job
I'm now working with the youngest children in the building. They're two and three years old, and for some of them this is their first time away from Mom. It's getting better, but at first there were some tears. The first day there was someone crying almost all the time.
The lead teacher in this classroom is also a Kathy (actually a Cathy), which led to a lot of confusion when someone would call out the name. Since she's been there longer, she's Miss Cathy, and I'm known as Miss G.
This classroom has a higher percentage of special needs students than the last classroom., including three non-walkers. One is on the cusp of walking-she takes several steps in a row, but the other two use a walker. If not, they have to be carried. Fortunately they have some of the smallest bodies, so it's not too difficult.
Because the school is inclusion-based, every classroom has a team of therapists assigned to it. In addition to the lead teacher and assistants who are there all the time, the Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, and Speech Pathologist spend time in the room as needed, Sometimes there's almost as many adults as children!
In the old classroom, only a couple of the students hadn't mastered toileting. Now I split the daily diaper duty with the other teacher assistant. Only a handful of the children are wearing "big boy" or "big girl" underwear, and we clap and cheer when one of them is dry..
There's a daily lesson plan that includes large group activities (circle time, snack time, and outside play) and small group projects. So far, I've supervised coloring, gluing, and finger painting. On any given day, I could be helping someone complete a puzzle, string beads, or play on the floor with cars. We do dress-up, read books, and listen to music.
In the old classroom my schedule was different each day, but now I have regular hours. Although the classroom operates from nine until noon, I arrive a half hour early and stay after until everything is clean and put away. It's great having the same schedule every day. However, there is one disadvantage. I get really hungry. For the past year I've been having lunch at 11:30. Now, though, I don't eat until after I've cleaned the classroom after the session's ended at noon, so lunch is closer to 12:30. I'm sure my stomach will eventually adjust. If not, I'll have to start enjoying snack time with the kids.