Baumhaus Talk Series: Teacher Violet Talks About How Special it is to Teach Big Kids
Teaching Laugh and Learn, now called Level 3 has been one of my milestones and accomplishments as a new Kindermusik Educator. I enjoy this curriculum because the children in this curriculum show evident independence. They are able to express themselves in their own unique ways, and are able to stand independently without their grown ups. This is the first time their guardians and parents leave them in the classroom to fully appreciate the classes alone, with just their teacher. Somehow, in this level, their emerging personalities might make it harder to earn their trust at the beginning, but it feels so rewarding when you realise that they finally completely trust you.
Children at this age face a lot more challenges (e.g. schools, other extra-curricular) so I have noticed that they carry different moods to the class. It is very important for us as teachers not to make the class feel like another burden to them. By allowing them to be at ease in the classroom, and providing a safe environment, we are able to help them achieve a comfortability that will also promote learning and expression. Also, their creativity and imagination sometimes could be very impressive, and in this particular age. As teachers, especially in this level, it is important to be able to steer maybe a little bit away of our own textbook lesson plans, let them take the lead, expressing their ideas. It would be surprising how the lessons could go even better than sticking to the plan. The biggest challenge of teaching this age is the separation from the grown ups. As mentioned, this is the first time the class is unaccompanied and some children adjust to this harder than the others. It takes sensitivity and classroom management to deal with these cases, and it really challenges you as a teacher.
Many parents often get confused when their children get to certain physical age. They feel like there is a need to choose the classes within the range of the age, but in fact physical age is just a reference and sometimes it is not so relevant. We should always choose the classes that we feel are best for the child’s development. As adults, we should be observant of what our children want, as there is a big difference between the children not being challenged, or the children just getting used to new environments. It is always good for us to expose them to a community that has a varied age of children, after all, children have different preferences—some feel more confident with the younger children, and some like challenges when they are with a group of older children.
My favourite theme for this age group is Around the Farm. When I am in class I don't think of myself as just a teacher to the children, but I place myself as their companion. I not only teach them, but I go through the journey with them and learn with them. My ability of speaking Cantonese and Mandarin gives me a way to interact with the families about what they are going through, and they do not have to hesitant to ask me any questions.
There is something truly special about teaching the big kids. As a teacher, it is so precious to me, as I learn so many things from these young minds, and it makes me so happy to be sharing music with them.