Wednesday, June 14, 2006

VBS Days 2 and 3 - "Voices Below a Shout," Please

Well, I finished my first three days of teaching three and four-year-olds for Vacation Bible School today. And, after re-reading my first day post, I knew I had to update you all.

Today, I'd like to designate that VBS stands for "Voices Below a Shout." My daughter has serious volume control problems (if you've seen Austin Powers, she's 'having trouble CONTROLLING THE VOLUME OF HER VOICE!') And after a full day with a headache nagging at the back of my head and lots of wild little boys and girls who have grown comfortable enough to be defiant with their teacher, I need some peace and quiet, my friends.

Now, to answer the questions that I'm sure you have after reading my last post:

Yes, I am in one piece still.

Yes, things have gotten easier and better!

In fact, I'm enjoying it! That is not to say I'm not still a little stressed. I had a tension headache come on late yesterday afternoon that is still building today. I guess the truth is that I don't take watching other people's children lightly. We have fun, but it is scary making sure nine children get to and from everything without losing their way AND keeping them all having fun too.

I discovered today that I may be one of the only preschool teachers who is really trying to TEACH her class. I began wondering why no one else had been asking for supplies to go with the VBS curriculum we were given. After asking a neighboring teacher who has the other section of 3 to 4-year-olds, I discovered that she is just letting them play with the toys most of the time. And, she has TWO teenage helpers! I have one 11-year-old, who has to leave twice a day to help elsewhere.

Tomorrow I will have to post some startling things I learned in my training to be a VBS teacher, along with a few incidents that made me glad I had this training. But, today I'll give you a list of why I've started loving my bunch of toddler-graduates.

  • No little boy likes to stop playing to go potty. It isn't just my son!

  • My developmentally-challenged boy made it today WITHOUT his mother AND went potty twice ON HIS OWN. NO accidents! (His mother was elated!)

  • Not one child has had a bathroom accident yet, which is good considering some of them are still three! (Can you tell I SO do not want to deal with potty problems?)

  • The spontaneous hugs you get from kids just make your heart melt into a million pieces. You never know when they are coming and it makes every bit of stress worth it, most definitely.

  • Seeing that something you say is connecting with a child really makes you feel like you're teaching them something so valuable.

  • There is nothing better than a three-year-old breaking into a freeform dance in class. If only we as adults could find that jubilation in our lives again, we would be so lucky!

  • Eleven-year-old little girls can really be know-it-alls if you let them. But, they also love to feel wanted and important just as much as the younger kids...I learned that about my 'tween helper today.

  • Being a preschool teacher is very hard and I don't think most realize the level of drain it can put on a person. But, it has its own rewards too. I will never take one of my kids' teachers for granted anymore, that I can promise!

  • I'm appreciating my own kids so much more this week as well, and not taking them for granted. They're really special and teaching other kids has made me also see their unique qualities that I sometimes overlook.

  • I think I'm better off having the smaller class and no older teen helper. I look at it as that I'm getting the privilege of connecting with this kids without someone else there to make that connection. Sure, it is physically draining, but well worth it.

  • A long train ABC puzzle and several very tired children is not a good match at the end of a day. Not a good match at all.

  • I will survive this week and I have a feeling I'm going to take a whole lot away from it. With that said, I know that next year my daughter will be in VBS and I will either be helping older kids or being a "floater" helper or I will take this week as an official "mommy break" for the summer, instead of teaching little ones. I love 'em, but I don't know if I could do this every year!

More VBS updates soon, including my experiences learning about warning signs to watch for in children you are teaching. Very alarming and eye-opening information that I have to share tomorrow...


Anonymous Nicole said...

What?! I'm not supposed to bust out my dance moves in the middle of the work day?

Huh. That explains all the strange looks. But I do so love to dance.

3:33 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Nicole said...

You're a trooper! I used to work at a day care with a class of 20 4 year olds and I would never ever do it again. Not ever.

Good luck with the rest of the week! I'm curious to hear about what you're going to write tomorrow...

3:55 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

I am enjoying your story. Keep up the good writing and the good work too.

7:46 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Babs said...

ooooh, spontaneous hugs sound nice! As for the volume thing, you totally reminded me of the old SNL skit where Will Ferrell has VOICE MODULATION DISORDER. It's so hilarious!

anyhow, sounds like you're earning your good karma points. yay you!

10:21 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger "D" said...

I have a girl with VOLUME CONTROL issues times! I hope you get more blessings out of what you are doing - I can't even do the kids town nursery for one church service!

6:30 AM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger TC said...

Glad you're making it through in one piece so far!

8:23 AM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Lazy Daisy said...

Look at you Miss Thing! Loved the "Voice below a Shout" I never knew that's what VBS stood for. Girl you crack me up!

You actually made me cry with your observations. How sweet that the Holy Spirit is molding you while you mold little ones.

Hang in there more day. Got your back with my prayers!


3:08 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Carol said...

You are one BRAVE woman!

8:23 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

You are one brave woman! I could never in a million years do the three-year-old room for more than one hour every once in a blue moon! I bow to you, Steph!

8:50 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

They're holding her hostage in the supply closet or something, aren't they? :)

6:54 AM, June 17, 2006  
Anonymous Angela said...

Oh my GOODNESSS, lady!! This has brought back so many memories for me, both as a VBS attendee as a wee one and as an "overly enthusiastic helper" as a tween ;) I've got to say though, as exhausting as this has been for you and as difficult as I'm sure parts of the day are, know that you truly are making a lasting impact on these children's lives. I can still remember all of my VBS teachers, and all of the ladies that I worked alongside with as a young teen and learned patience and "mothering" from.

You go girl--and keep bringing on the stories. I'm loving it!

12:15 PM, June 17, 2006  

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