16 Jun

When I found out that I was teaching Kindergarten LEAP this year, I would be lying if I said I was not a little apprehensive.  LEAP is a sheltered English program–basically it’s a classroom of English Language Learners with a regular classroom teacher all day and an ESOL (now ENL) teacher for 2.5-ish hours every day.


I have been teaching since 2006.  I have never NOT taught middle school (hey hey double negatives).  This marks my first year not having big people.  Or even medium people.  I have Kinders and 2nd graders.  And change makes me nervous.


I have loved every most minutes of it!  It’s been a great change of pace–one of the things that I love about ESOL is that what I am teaching is constantly changing.  It allows me room to grow professionally and challenge myself with new grade levels, curriculum and students.


Today we took our Kindergarten class to Springdale Farm for the second time this year.


The first time we went was late September.  We had a very small class (we started the year with like 12 kids and then gradually added more throughout the year and lost some and we’re up to 21 at this point).  The kids in our class were almost all brand new to the country–within the past couple of months.  They were tiny and scared.  There were tears daily from some of them.  They rarely spoke.  That first bus ride to the farm was SO quiet.  The kids had very little to say–many of them were still in their silent period.


Today, the difference was remarkable. Even having added new students (some within the past 2-4 weeks), the bus was noisy.  Kids were asking questions about the animals and the farm–not just to me, but to the woman giving us the tour.  They were excitedly pulling me around and telling me about the things they saw.  On the bus ride home, we sang songs until they all fell asleep (well 14 of the 20 anyway)…


And as I sat there, with a kid sleeping on my lap and another one resting on my shoulder, I couldn’t help but be unbelievably proud of the progress my kiddos have made.  Not just in their ability to speak, listen and use their English, which is HUGE.  But they are reading.  Tapping out words.  They know their letters and sounds.  They are writing simple sentences.


To have a front row seat for this kind of learning….it’s so special.  I don’t know if we will ever have our own kids…it makes me so sad to think we may not get to be there for our babies’ growing and learning.  But I am incredibly thankful that I get to be there in this way to watch these kids and help facilitate their learning.  It’s the best part of teaching–knowing that you are responsible for these little people, watching their minds growing and changing.


I have one more week of teaching.  And then I will be done with my tenth year teaching, and my third full year teaching ESOL. It’s been a really great year for me professionally, and I am already excited for next year!



cheers to a year of progress


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