These days I have been kept busy by my summer job as a summer school kindergarten teacher's aide. Actually, to be more specific, it's "kinder prep," as in preparing these four and five year olds to enter kindergarten. Some of them are more ready for that than others, but all of them have something to teach us bigger kids.
My daily schedule usually goes something like this:
8:00-9:00: Before School Playground Support
Your typical yard duty requirements, like making sure no one gets hurt and the toys don't break.
9:00-9:45: Classroom Support
Make copies, help the teacher maintain control, answer questions, create displays and craft examples.
9:45-10:00: Snack Time Playground Support
Make sure everyone actually eats their food before playing, then round up the kids as they express their dissatisfaction at the lack of play time.
This usually consists of eating something and flopping on the couch in the staff lounge, scrolling through emails and Facebook.
10:15-10:45: Elective Support
Depending on the day, the kids will have library, computers, art, PE, and/or chapel during this time, and the instructors usually can use an extra hand in enforcing the rules and requirements for the activity.
10:45-11:35: Classroom Support
More of the previously mentioned duties.
11:35-12:40: Lunch Support
The true trial of the day. Kids are usually simultaneously forced to eat, encouraged to eat faster, told to sit down, put in time out for misbehaving, and helped with opening containers I can barely manage myself. After about 40 minutes of that, many whistle blows and hoarse yells later, the 36 or so kinder prep students are lined up with "bubbles and bumpers" to avoid as much chaos as possible and taken to the playground, where yard duty becomes the staff's role until "clean up and line up" time.
12:40-1:40: Lunch Break
An hour of solace, and a much deserved one at that if I may say so myself. I get to chat with my friend, a recent graduate of the private school for which we are working, who is the other kinder prep teacher's aide for the summer. We talk about the kids in our class and life in general as we eat and take up space on the comfy and well worn couches before dragging ourselves out to the time clock once more.
1:40-2:15: Classroom Support
This time includes helping with the kids, but often has something to do with organizing and stamping the papers from the day, or, if it is Friday, setting up the board in the elementary office so parents next week can see what our theme and projects were the week before.
Another short, government mandated one that sometimes gets in the way of my work.
2:30-3:00: Classroom Support
Help kids pack up and sort them into lines for pick up and day care.
3:00-5:00: Curriculum or After Care Support
If I work in curriculum (which I strongly prefer), I do anything from shelving textbooks for the school year to preparing for new teacher orientation. If I work in after care, it is basically like before school care but longer, with more kids and less energy.
If nothing else, my patience and alphabet skills have dramatically improved. These kids really don't give you any choice but to keep up with them. They show that there is no such thing as a good or bad person, just that each one of us is a mess of sin and holiness and good and crazy all mixed together. It is beautiful to figure out and wrestle through... but I will be very happy to be all done figuring and wrestling and start resting!