Friday, April 10, 2009
It's that time of the year for teachers... spring burnout. Well.. at least for preschool teachers & I'm guessing all teachers. Rather than look forward to the summer, I struggle this time of year. With a couple of issues, summer planning and a change of age group(the above picture is not of my group of kiddos).
I'm a Early Childhood Educator for a reason - I looove the little guys. I love my big guys too - but my heart is with "teaching" preschoolers. I don't run a classic in home daycare - I run a full program every morning and a camp style program in the summer. That said... by the time I get to April, I'm running low on enthusiasm and drive. Unlike older grades, I don't get breaks for Christmas, Spring break or summers off. I know alot of older grade teachers are suffering through this too as you work at other jobs all summer too. Honestly, we all need a good break at the end of the school year. We don't always get one. I'm tired and burned out and struggling to wrap my head around the summer.
My first struggle is the change of group dynamics in the summer. I have several older siblings, all wonderful kiddos mind you. But when you change up the mix - the game changes too. During the summer there is lots more drama, older kiddo drama, sibling drama, more - "I'm bored" drama. My preschoolers are seldom bored. Then again, the older kids keep the play rolling along and do a great job of including the little guys. The first day of fall this last year, my little guys and I went outside for the first time without the older kids. As a group they all turned around and looked at me like.... now what. LOL I realized they had been the followers all summer, I also realized I had not been the leader. We all laughed and went on a nature hunt - me in the lead. I guess what I'm saying is for me it feels like I work much harder in the summer than the rest of the year to maintain calm and structure. It's the time of the year that I yearn to work less not more.
So in summers past I have done less curriculum in the summer and more just fun stuff. I have come to realize although it sounds less work intensive for me it is not. We tie dye, paper mache, fine art, have a mud/water day, beading, code breaking, gardening.... you get the idea. I won't stop the tie dye week - it has become a tradition & one of my favorite weeks of the year!
I guess I was hoping that all of you amazing, creative women out there might be able to give me some ideas...a shot in the arm. I know once I get the summer program rolling in my head, my enthusiasm will return. So.... I'm looking for some less intensive summer ideas, fun and simple craft, science, nature type ideas that we can do for summer camp. any input here would be a huge blessing!!
Thank you so much, Sarah