I agreed to teach 1 hour of "sunday school" type lessons to a mixed class of pre-k and kindergarten, one day a week, at a very small school cooperative. These are the only students in teh entire school, and I have a total of like 12. I was 9 months pregnant when I agreed, so my condition was that I could do it my way, in a very low-key manner, using a Waldorf-style circle to begin class, then having stories/ puppet plays, then drawing/ art.
At the start of the school year, it took a few tries but gradually the students' behaviors improved and they were on board.
Now, for the last 2 solid months, the older ones are behaving badly. For example, when I give an option to sing a particular song, he'll respond, "nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo." I know he knows better. In the meantime, some students just don't seem to like the songs, while the youngest ones jump around and are distracted by their light-up shoes. Still others, who are not even fluent in English, do things to get attention, then lie to me when I approach them. Its driving me bonkers!!
What I have tried to do in my class, with this whole "Waldorf style" circle, is create a sense of reverence for the subject matter--God, Godly behavior, and stories of the Prophets. I light the candle, I have some silks, and I even dress nice for them to be impressed. :p I try to engage them, hear them out, let them express themselves. I have "in" and "out" verses to alternate between dreamy verses and fun verses.
But sometimes, things get out of hand and I still find myself needing to "discipline" kids. Haveing 2 of mine, I don't see their energy as a bad thing, but I do want to keep the sense of reverence, which we seemed to have at the start of the school year. The other teacher's solution is to come, immediately start give warnings for timeouts, etc. I need her help but I don't want to resort to warnings of timeout.
Is there a better way? I should say that this is NOT some Waldorf school. All the kids are very mainstream. I just have this personal preference for my class. I am flexible and not a "purist".
Also, so far, I am on my own for all 8-12 students that I get for that hour. I've made it clear to the other teachers that I need a TA, but basically, they all want to take a break b/c that's the only one they get.
I think I've mentioned all important factors. I'd love to hear any good suggestions on how to finish off the school year on a strong note, with a happy class of children, instead of a whole class period where my "Dreamy" verses are punctuated by me issuing warnings and behavior reminders...
Best to you
Could you get a teenager or two to help out? Maybe someone from the congregation interested in studying child development or in need of volunteer hours for college applications?
SAHM of newborn boy, 2 year old girl, and 4 year old boy. Visit my website: http://researchparent.com