*WARNING…soapbox moment ahead
Can I let you in on a secret. The most cringe worthy thing anyone can EVER say to a kindergarten teacher is, “ahhhhhh”.
I know it’s only said out of the kindness of someone’s heart, but if there is ONE thing I hope you can get out of this post it would be this, please stop. How can we be effective, get proper feedback, and connect to people on a serious level if we at the lowest of grades, the foundation of education, often just get defined as….well….cute.
Hold us to the same standard and you will get the same results, which will then elevate our students to even higher levels once they reach the older grades.
As I have progressed my craft in the last 2 years don’t get me wrong, I have received praise, push, and feedback to improve my classroom dynamic, but I have also experienced a lot of “well you can do that kind of stuff because you teach kindergarten….I have to get students to (fill in the blanks) level.” or “wow that’s amazing you get 5 and 6 year olds to do that….(and then there is no follow up on next steps).”
Those generalizations alone make it hard to improve your craft from outside feedback and resources. When you sometimes feel like you are the only one who truly has confidence in the capabilities of a young child you sometimes sit and just talk to yourself. In professional development over and over again I have heard, “this is the way we would like to see your day run…except kindergarten, we know you’re different.”
STOP! JUST STOP!
So how do you create more opportunities for connection and effective feedback? Let us sit at the table. As a collective whole we have been fighting for years for a genuine seat at the table, because we are just as important as any other year. If not selfishly I’ll say we are one of the most important. We can’t tell our students you’re “cute” and “different” and “do not apply” and then all of the sudden say a couple of years into their schooling, when the cuteness wears off…..wait….what do you mean you don’t know how to act in a collaborative, innovative, critical thinking, making moment.
I have a wonderful principal, who is always giving effective feedback, PLN connections who push me to raise the bar…but I have experienced plenty of times in my career the opposite.
So next time you see a group of littles marching through yours halls…know we don’t think of ourselves as just cute…we would rather be know as small and mighty.