Happy with my 11 kids

Today I started my next term at the YMCA. I, with the help of one other volunteer,  have 11 kids to facilitate through a craft, gym time,free play, story and get them to the pool all in one piece. It’s quite the adjustment since last term I only had three kids and one was my own.

It’s pretty fun having so much energy to play with for 2 hours. They are all between 3 and 5 years old and 9 of 11 kids are boys! I thought it would be more of a gong show but, it turns out the group of them are a polite bunch that listens. Who knew?! I’m exhausted but happy it went so smoothly.

I am thrilled to see so many kids that have been taught to use their manners and listen. Sadly,it’s not as common as you would think. It’s kind of disappointing that seeing well mannered kids is a surprise to me. There are so many that I have taught before that were demanding and ungrateful. The expectation that I would do for them what they were too lazy to do, like throw out their garbage, it’s clear that this is how thy are at home. It also becomes clear to them, very quickly, that I am not their mom and they can walk their cute little legs to the garbage can/recycling bin themselves. I also insist they say please and thank you. Most are fine with it, but boy can it turn into a 2 second pissing match without notice. The kid always loses and I hear the “magic words” even through a scowly face. Whatever. The parent shows up and coos at them, dries them off, and changes them into their clothes from their swimwear while the kid passively moves through the process. Mom is frustrated and is still sucking up to them while the child make demands or completely has a tantrum if the expected answer doesn’t come fast enough. Stupidly, in my not so humble opinion, the mom gives in. The kid doesn’t say thank you or start being any more helpful. I’m not saying that this is the norm, but that I pretty much expect to have at least one or two each class. Fortunately, it seems I haven’t got any of this type of kid in my group this term. I’m chalking it up to good karma.

Another thing I’m adjusting to is not having my 4 year old with me. He told me very clearly that he doesn’t want to be in my class anymore. He’s very charming and a pleasure to teach but, since we spent loads of time together day in and day out, I can see why he’d like a break. It’s been nice having him in my class where I can be in the same room and see how he interacts with other kids his own age.  It’s fun to see the progress in communication skills as well as the complexity in the socialization that develops. I’m proud of him for being confident enough to want to go to another class without me. He knows what he wants and is independent enough to communicate this simply and without accusation that I suck as a teacher. Now, I’ll be back to asking the teacher how he’s doing at the end of each week. Ok.