Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Been there, done that!

The thing about me going to make the children cry, or maybe I cry. And what my gf warn everyone on FB - the parents to watch out for anxiety signs in their children.

I should say I was waiting in great anticipation for this event. I was nervous too coz' I'm not too sure if I could handle them.

I was assigned a P1 class together with another mummy, whom I got to know at the training. I mean.......so many mummies there and I only managed to speak to a few -she was one of them. I thought great! I have an experienced mummy partnering me (but she was the one who warned about the children challenging you etc..) so I won't pee in my pants.

The children, 7 yrs old, should be easy to handle - much easier than upper primary children. I thought maybe I have a child this age, I should be able to handle them. Yes? NO!! I only handle 2 kids at home, in that class of 30 or rather 15 (coz' we spilt the class into 2) was a real shock for me. Don't be mistaken, they're cute innocent children but I just couldn't handle 30 children who were yakking at the same time as I did. In the end, I had to raise my voice really loud to the whole class. Shouted "children!...." no response. In the end, had to shout the class "__1!" Ah ha! That got their attention since they knew I was talking to them.
Err........imagine me shouting 3 times to the class during that 2 hours. Goash! Twice I had to do that coz' my partner didn't speak loud enough to quieten them down. Thanks to training in SQ where we have to shout commands to make sure the whole aircraft can hear your voice and jump off the plane. The class, smaller in size is easy peesy, but I felt bad coz' it was rather intimidating with my voice (plus it didn't match my looks). And I wanted to be seen as a nice aunty.

If I thought that my 2 children were tattling about each other too much. Wait till you see the whole class of 30 children coming to you to tell you "Mrs Ting/Aunty/Teacher she did this to me. Mrs Ting/Aunty/Teacher she throw my things." Wah...................... With my kids I can try to solve their problem and tell them not to tell tales about one another. How to tell 30 kids?? By then, it's already school dismissal time!! And moreover, we don't have eyes 360 deg to know what's happening behind us while we're busy with one table. When one child comes to complain to you, we don't even know the head and tails of what had happened.
But one girl really impressed me, she was trying to solve the problem for her friends. As for me, it's sad to see one kid almost in tears. I mean, you have one child who's about to cry while you're in charge?! But then it's not my bloody fault, know what I mean? All I told them was "be more tolerant with one another."

That mummy told me, we should put our stand the moment we step in. Without putting a front, she already looks fierce while I had that angelic look. Maybe I was also wrong in my 'looks' which resulted in so many children complaining to me about their friends.

What we did with the class was to make a towel rabbit craft. Seems easy but I know it's not (I know coz' even my kid whom I do craft with usually have trouble and I need to help out a lot) for a 7 yr-old. Easy to handle 1 child's craft. How to handle 15 kids?

Giving out the towels. We gave the children in that same table the same colour. I anticipated some children will ask for certain colours so decided to take charge by giving the same colour towel. True enough the kids started echoing "I want this colour; that colour." My reply was "I'm not giving you the colours you want because if everyone asks me for it, I won't have enough to change. Some of you will be sad too." I didn't want to suggests to them that they can do a mutual exchange with friends just incase things turn bad between them. And worst still when we're already pressed for time we have to take time to handle the stupid nitty gritty stuffs like pacifying kids when we could have avoided it in the first place. (keeping them quiet already took time) Bad? Another mummy who took charge of che-che's class told me she told them they can do it and they did - with no trouble. But she mentioned that che-che's class was really good. Hmmm...............maybe my class wasn't that united? I could see a few outcasted children.

The craft was done in this sequence
1) fold the towel
2) tie rubber band
3) tie ribbon to cover rubber band
4) stick eyes and nose
5) tie a smaller ribbon to stick to the rabbit's ears
In these 5 steps (at first I suggested to the mummy if we run out of time, we forgo the small ribbon and ask them to do at home. In the end, we did have time)

1) folding towels, I gave instructions to the 3 tables of 5 children. Some could do it, some couldn't. I told them I'd come to them table by table. In the end some kids ended up running to the table where I was standing and very impatiently tell me "I cannot........I cannot do it." Some of them can proudly hold up their 'i dunno what it is' towel and ask loudly "correct?" Heehee! that's the fun part of handling kids. Going round their table, oh boy! let me tell you I'm always so confused who's sitting in that table coz' the kids are all over the place. Keep asking "where are the children in this table?" to make sure that I've finished the particular sequence with the children in that table. And then some children are standing around and it looks like a market, I have to ask the kids to go back to their table. "I'm sitting in this table!!" *paiseh*
2) After folding for the kids, I told them to tie the rubber bands around. And tie a ribbon around to cover the rubber bands. While going around the next table to do the previous sequence. Came back to Table 1, you see funny looking rabbit with rubber bands tied wrongly or dunno how to tie. While standing at each table, I asked whoever is able to help her friends do certain tasks to help out. Like a preacher nagger who can't stop her bad habit told the kids that as classmates they're suppose to help out one another. Ha! Maybe some kids won't like me for acting like their mummy.
4) Sticking eyes and nose the easiest part. Still, I get funny remarks from the children "I can't find my nose! I can't find my eyes!" I pointed to their face, "your eyes'/nose/ is here!"
5) Lastly the small ribbons.. I tied the ribbons for them and asked them to stick it for them.

Honestly speaking, with 15 kids and more (coz' the other kids from other tables came to me) crafts to handle. I can forget about my "better do nicely" motto.
And I was more fussy than the mother, made sure after every table I finish the craft. Ask them to throw the rubbish on their table, pick up litters on the floor. Some kids pick up the broom and fight. Sigh......... "I hold first, I sweep first, just now you sweep; now I sweep...."
*slap head*
That mummy was still busy with her group of childrens' crafts so I made sure that her group of childrens' table and area are cleaned too. Needless to say, some of them heck care and didn't bother.
So, I whipped out my handy dandy (not the cane) - a bunch of pencils. "Who wants this?"
"Me!!!!" the class echoed.
"Okay, but first I need you to check that your table and floor area is clean first." Woah! Kids sprung up into action. "I will only give it to you once I make a spot check in each table." Heehee! Call me evil, call me resourceful but I finally got some kids in action and to make the second and last check around their class - so that we can hand over the class in clean order to their FT.

I dunno if I've done my job well. Well for one thing, we're suppose to teach them craft and I've already done that. But the manner it was done, did the children feel intimated when I shouted for them to keep quiet? Did I act like a nanny? Did they complain to their mummies after that?

I know for sure that it's not an easy task to handle a class of 30/40 kids and kudos to the teachers. Two professions in this world (I feel) that I really salute to - teachers and nurses - coz' I feel for these two professions, you need to have that drive and 'thing' in you to be one and not everyone can be one. Obviously I don't have the drive and thing, but I do have the X-factor to be in SQ. Perhaps I feel my judgement is justified with this experience but perhaps I am also wrong coz' I was only there for few hours and I don't really know every kid. Teachers do understand their children with their daily contact not us! I think I'll prefer to handle preschoolers.

As what the Vice Chairperson of CPC said during our training, "maybe you aspire to be a teacher when you were younger? Now is your chance." I didn't aspire to be a teacher coz' I know I 'cannot make it' but I did aspire to be a TAI-TAI and I'm still not one!! What a failure!

Will I do this again next year and the years to come? Probably yes, one experience is not enough. It's actually quite fun just that as amateurs we're not trained.

During the break, the Principal gave each of us a bottle of Sparkling juice as a token of appreciation. We stared and laugh at the bottle waiting to go ahead for PART 2. We sounded more like soldiers chiong-ing for war. End of the day, when we brought the bottle home. I remarked "it's for us to drown our sorrows" to the laughter of the ladies sitting in my table. We all had a great day and I'm sure it's not really for sorrows, it's for celebration that we finally did it.

Mark my calendar for next year. And must make sure my helper (dunno if KZ wants to continue) helps me with mei-mei

We chatted while waiting for our children and talked about the events that had happened in the morning. Somehow we all felt that the mummies assigned in a particular class to be briefed about special children or special medication (for that matter) in her class.

During the morning exercise in the school hall. One mummy came to ask me if I knew who was in charge of that class - where a kid was crawling on the floor. I looked at that child and recognised it was S and directed her to the mummy who's taking charge of che-che's class. (coincidently I also spoke to her during the training). I forewarned that mummy about S so she knows what to do.
After some time a kid in my class came up to me and sounded nervous "where's my maid? Where's my maid?" I didn't know what was wrong until M, a mummy, handled her for me and brought her out. When she came back in less than 5 mins she explained to me that that girl has anxiety, her maid or grandpa is always in school. I was puzzled and then she continued "my daughter's in her class and she told me about her". Ohh! No wonder. It's a good thing that we had mummies around the school.
Still, we felt that we should be informed of special cases so that we're able to handle them.

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