My school is a year-round school, with normal school during the year and summer camp June-August. Thus, in the beginning of June the majority of our oldest kids move up to a new class and we get a batch of new, younger kids. We have a total of 15 children everyday, and 24 total enrolled. About 1/3 of our class stayed while everyone else moved up. At the end of the school year our youngest child was 15 1/2 months old and our oldest was 30 months old. We have about the same age range currently, but the majority of our kids now are not yet two, while the old class the majority of the kids were two. The class that moved up was tough. They were bored and were ready to move on to bigger things. Overall, they were probably our toughest class yet.
Transition time can be rough. For most of the children, this is their first time in a group environment, and the first time they are away from Mom. We have a transition schedule where the children stay for a certain amount of time each day and then build upon that time until they stay all day.
This new group of children, oh my gosh; this has been the most low-key, easy-going group we have ever had. A lot of them are siblings of children who are in the older classrooms which may have something do with it. We find that second or third children (and their parents) tend to have an easier time transitioning to school than only or first-born children.
While all the children have been doing well, it’s been rough for me. I went all school year without one cold, so I got hit with my first cold the second week of summer camp. On top of that, I have been battling headaches every night that keep me from getting quality sleep. I’ve had to take my migraine medicine pretty much every day for the last two and half weeks. Which stinks because they only come nine pills to a bottle. It’s been fairly awful. So while I don’t think I feel any stress from work, my body is clearly showing me that it is there.
In the end though, it’s nice to look forward to spending my days with children who are enjoying their time at school.
There is never a dull moment during my work day. From the moment the first child arrives in my classroom to when I leave, there is always some kind of movement or sound occurring. I am always on. When I am at work, I do pretty well at focusing on work, on the children. I am not one to daydream or think about my outside life, unless I’m particularly stressed or have something big going on in my life. Therefore, I have some moments throughout my day that offer me time to recharge my batteries. Moments that give me the peace and quiet that I crave as an introvert.
- I arrive to work at 6:45 to prep for the day and spend a few minutes relaxing with my coffee before I open the school doors at 7:30. As I walk down the stairs to the front door I pause, take a deep breath and say a mantra to myself such as, “Today is going to be a great day.”
- I leisurely walk to the bathroom when I get a bathroom break to take a breather and enjoy the relative quiet of the hallway.
- When I take a sip of water. Seriously. Just those few seconds of taking a drink of water can be a moment of peace for me!
- Sometimes I don’t socialize with my co-workers in the break room during my hour-long break during the children’s nap time. This allows me even more time to myself. At first I thought I would be seen as anti-social, but some days I just need a moment to myself! My co-workers know me enough to know that I’m pretty introverted. I do this particularly during our more stressful or busy days, or if we have a work event or training after the school day.
- When we go outside for a walk or to play I will take a few ,very brief seconds to enjoy my surroundings.
I am sure there are more moments that are so quick or ingrained in my daily life at work that I don’t remember them right now.
Do you carve out moments of peace and quiet during your day?
I teach in a classroom with three other women. Three out of the four of us would probably call ourselves introverts. Me especially. My newest co-teacher is a self-proclaimed extrovert. Like, big time extrovert; I absolutely love her for it. It is a good balance for our classroom. The four of us have often chatted about our personality differences and our introvert or extrovert tendencies. Us introverts like to go home in the evening and spend time alone to recharge, my extrovert co-teacher gains her energy from people. But all of us agree how exhausting it can be tending to fifteen toddlers every day. One of these particular days that we were actually able to find the time to discuss life and our teaching, my extroverted co-teacher exclaimed “It must be exhausting for you, you’re just pretending to be an extrovert all day!”
Well, true. I mean, I have always been very quiet; during my performance reviews my boss has indeed complimented me on my “calm and quiet manner.” (Ok, she calls me the baby whisperer.) However, I never really thought I was pretending to be an extrovert by constantly being expressive, talking to and engaging with children and keeping up my energy level to be on par with a group of 15 to 30 month old children. That’s just doing my job. Yes, it can be exhausting keeping up with it, and I do feel the need to recharge my batteries with some alone time. I’m ok if my co-teacher calls it pretending to be an extrovert, I’m ok even thinking that myself sometimes. In the end, it caused me to think about how my strengths as an educator and my tendencies as an introvert come together in my work as a preschool teacher.
Hence, here we are. Why I’m writing. To discover why everything I do, think and feel on a daily basis culminates into who I am, both in my personal and working lives.
How about you? Are you an introvert in an extroverted environment? What does that mean for you?