Preschool Pandemonium

1 Oct

I’m not sure if you’ve ever spent significant time with a child before, but let me tell you: they’re crazy. Crazy as in both crazy awesome & crazy insane. But, as I previously stated, I like this mesh. I feel very natural & comfortable around children. I think they’re super cute & admire their innocence. I can color & sing with them but at the same time, I treat them as an equal. Aka: I don’t let them get away with ish. The kid’s I’ve babysat have always had a blast with me. We just click. I think they are these awesome little people who mumble to themselves while playing & spill things all the time & are a little weird, but they have every right to be.

It’s my third week as a preschool teacher & I can happily say that I made the right choice. I have a natural inclination for this. Who would have ever thought that babysitting for so many years could turn into a full time job in Europe? Life’s funny like that. However, as much fun as I’ve had being a preschool teacher at Keytone, sometimes I feel like I live in a Czech soap opera. Let me do a quick run down of my schedule for you…

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(Above: Some of the Czech kids. I didn’t take this pic but the girl in the red pants is in my class. She’s adorbs)

Monday:

10am-11am, 4 children, 1.5 years old

You are probably wondering: why is she teaching one year old children? They can barely speak their own language, let alone another language. Oh dear reader, I am wondering the same thing. First of all, one year olds are babies. Babies cry & scream & flip out non stop because they cannot express themselves. I’m not sure it’s all that helpful that you have some foreign girl speaking in a completely different language who doesn’t understand the 5 words your 18 month old brain has retained. So what do we do for that hour? We sing. Well, I sing. They stare at me all wide eyed as their moms clap their little hands together.

Memorable Students:

Theodore is the fussy one. His mother came in the school to find me, the only one in the building, & proceeded to speak Czech even after it was clear I had no idea what she was talking about. Awkward. Then her son screamed for the whole class.

Thomas is the little cutie. He sits their in his little sweater vest while I sing Five Little Monkeys and stares in pure awe. He is at that age where he just learned how to master the art of walking. So instead he runs. But his little legs move faster than his body. So he falls a lot but is just too darn happy to cry. 

Ondrej is the smart one. His mother, my saving grace, spoke English. Aka: every time I say something she translates to the other moms. Surprisingly enough not a lot of middle-aged people in Prague speak English well. This is because during the Soviet rule, they were never allowed to learn. But Ondrej’s mom is great. It’s parents like that who’s kids will actually learn something. Because it’s clear they practice outside of class. Ondrej knows all his colors & can count. In a 2nd language. Impressive.

3:00pm-4:30pm, 5children, 3-4years old

These are the Montessori kids, or the ones my boss says “learn differently”. I’m not quite sure what that means, but the Manchild went to Montessori, so I guess that explains a lot haha. Anyways these kids are really cute and a very diverse bunch.

Memorable students:

Well, let’s see, you have David who is usually always staring off into space & refuses to wear the protective aprons for painting. Ondrej is the youngest & loves to flip over chairs, throw things & sob whenever his mom attempts to leave the room. Ema & Camillka are adorable, yet like most of the kids I teach are convinced I secretly speak Czech. They often turn to me wide-eyed & excited, babbling about something & I feel awful just nodding. Seriously sometimes they tell 5 minute stories & are certain I know what they said, even after I repeat Nemluvim cesky.

Tuesday:

10am-11am, 4 children, 2 years old

I know what you’re thinking–uh oh, toddlers, this must be her worst class. Luckily, my class has escaped the terrible twos. Well, I mean for the most part. This is a class of all girls & they are sooo cute. Like most young children, they love to sing & get ridiculously excited whenever I tell them to stand up & form a circle. They are the coolest 2 year olds I know.

Memorable Students:

Sophinka is the energizer bunny. She gets more hyper than a un-housebroken puppy when we do anything. We sing: she jumps up & down. We dance: she jumps up & down. I mean I know my classes are fun, but gurl, calm down.

Lucinka is the girl in the red pants in the picture. One thing I have learned about most Czech children is that they are all absolutely beautiful. Like they could all be child models or Gerber babies or whatever. Lucie is no exception. She cannot speak really, but has the bluest eyes & constantly smiles with her 3 little teeth.

3:30pm-5:00pm, 5 children, 4 year olds

This is definitely one of my favorite classes. They just mesh so well together. No one is really high-strung or out of control & they all constantly laugh at everything I say. They love to participate & we have a great time!

Memorable students:

They really all are. Alex is my boss’s best friend’s son. He is essentially mute & didn’t want to participate. That is, until he found out that I rode horses for 11 years. Alex is obsessed with horses. Suddenly he participates & wants me to constantly draw him horses. I don’t mind at all.

Vivi & Luisa are bffs. They know each other from before & constantly hold hands. But in a cute way, sickos. Vivi is a mini-Elle Woods with her all-pink ensembles & flower headbands. Luisa sports overalls & neckscarves every class. They both love to participate, even when Vivi has mini-meltdowns. But Luisa knows her colors like a boss.

Diana & Lauren are the hyper ones. They are both very advanced though, so whatever. They recently discovered it’s hilarious to run up & tickle me mid-lesson. They also love to take my seat when I’m not looking. Lauren looks like Cindy Loo Who from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas & reached out for my hand today when we were going to snack. Awww.

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(Above: photo from our open house. Me going over animals with Georgia)

Wednesday:

2:00-4:00pm, 6 children, 6 years old

This.Is.The.WORST.Day.Ever. You’d think ‘oh they must be the easiest, they must be mature & well-behaved, right?’ Wrong dear reader, so seriously wrong. First of all, six children is a lot. Especially when five of those six children are so high strung. Two of those five are completely out of control. I dread this class. The worst part of all is that I like all the kids, I really do. I could do one-on-one time with them in a second. It’s just really hard to give them all my undivided attention. I feel like for those two hours I try to reprimand one child & the second I turn my back, another one does something. It’s time outs galore for these ones.

‘Memorable’ students:

So. You have Jan, Katerina & Martin, three out of control children. They literally feed off each other’s energy. I cannot even tell who is the root of the problem. Jan is a six year old boy with severe ADD. He loves to run and run and run. Screaming is his second favorite thing. Martin & Katerina are friends, so they basically tackle each other & join Jan in the craziness. They mock me when I tell them to stop so every class I get all HBIC on them. Often putting Jan & Martin in simultaneous timeouts, in which they just throw things across the room at each other. Sigh.

Nikolka & Eva are hyper girls (whose mothers give them candy at snack time?!) who are bffs. They are both blonde & adorable but can get very loud. They’re easier to manage than the previous three, but still don’t help calm down the classroom environment.

The other Nikolka is the well-behaved shy one. She always just patiently sits & waits for my instructions while all hell breaks loose around her. I feel really bad for her because sometimes I was that student too. The one who wanted to learn while everyone else around me caused problems. Don’t worry girl, look where I ended up & they didn’t 😉 

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(Above: Luckily this photographer really understood the rule of thirds #skullprobs)

Thursday:

4:00pm-6:00pm, 4 children, 4-5 years old

This class initially rubbed me the wrong way. My first lesson began with two boys flipping over tables & ended with one of them punching me in the arm. I have never been assaulted by a 5 year old before, but let me tell you, it’s terrifying. Luckily that boy was only subbing in my class so another lucky teacher gets him instead! Now this class has become another one of my favorites. This group has a great dynamic & we have a lot of fun.

Memorable students:

Ivan is one of my all-time favorites. Some of the kids I’ve met just instantly bonded with me. So much that I would honestly ask their parents if they ever needed a babysitter. I want to hang out with them because they’re so cool. Ivan is the cutest little thing. First of all, he has a little brother, who is about 2 who is his mini-me & wears Mickey Mouse overalls. Ivan thinks it’s hilarious to pick up his brother & carry him around. It is hilarious. Ivan’s mom is awesome too & told me that he loves my class & is so excited for Thursdays! She even gave me her cell phone number in case of emergency. Best family ever!

Jachym & Tyna are brother & sister. It’s funny because they are those two siblings who look absolutely nothing alike. Jachym is blonde with blue eyes & Tyna has brown eyes & super short brown hair, which is (unfortunately) a really popular hairstyle here. These two cooperate but can be a little lazy. They get exhausted from coloring & singing about frogs apparently.

Nikolka is another one of those flawless white-blonde haired, sky blue eyed Czech children. She is very chic & sports evil eye necklaces & matching bracelets. She is often one step behind us. Teaching her the concept of Duck, Duck, Goose was impossible & we soon just all laughed as she ran from the person who she was supposed to be chasing. I love kids.

Friday:

9:00am-12:00pm, 5 children, 5-6 years old

Yes. You read that right. A 3 hour class. FOR CHILDREN. I don’t want to be in 3 hour classes, so who would ever think that children would want to be either? Bad idea. Not only do they start whining about snack time at 9:30 (to which I have to reluctantly tell them that snack isn’t until 1 whole hour later), but this crew likes to F things up. They are all different levels. It’s a popourri of kids in this class. Kids who like to cry. Kids who like throwing things. Kids who prefer hitting other kids. Yet they all have the common denominator of one exhausted teacher who cannot WAIT to drink a bottle of wine immediately afterwards. 

‘Memorable’ students:

This group really is a mixed bag. We have Viktor who can either stare off into space in his own world the whole time, or screech odd animal noises while misbehaving. Toby & Dori are siblings, which I didn’t know. I thought Dori & Matilda were siblings. Mostly because Toby liked to hit Matilda who liked to throw massive temper tamtrums when she was told art time was over & Dori, who is actually 7 years old, would comfort her & yell at Toby. Justinca is the absolute spitting-image of my friend from home, Molly, when she was younger. It’s really cute & makes me miss Molly a lot 😦 Obviously Justinca is perfect & dainty & polite while the others wreck havoc with all their inner conflict. Pretty sure they were making fun of me once they realized I didn’t speak Czech. Luckily I know how to outsmart children. While they were talking, I made eye contact with Toby & shook my head. They asked me something, which I assume was along the lines of ‘Omg, can you understand us?’ I then just shrugged my shoulders. They shut up after that. I win. Needless to say this class is going to almost guarantee the fact that Jessayyy will be making appearances every Frisky Friday, but like she needed an excuse to anyway…

So there you have it, that is what my work week is like. Jealous? Nah, it’s actually super rewarding & fun. Plus I would much rather be doing this than making coffee or stapling papers any day.

Stay tuned for more adventures later!

-JG 

 

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One Response to “Preschool Pandemonium”

  1. mgallygirl October 2, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Jessi,
    You’re an inspiration. You’ve really gone above and beyond with this teaching opportunity. I love hearing about your Czech adventures. The kids sound so cute and adorable even with their tendencies to be…well, kids. I can’t wait to start my own adventure here in Soissons! I am so so so proud of you. Love you à jamais!

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