I've survived 3 weeks of co-teaching nearly a dozen 1st grade girls! Last night was our 3rd full class and I'm really loving it. All my fears about teaching in Abby's class and dealing with squealing, overly energetic girls were completely unfounded (thank goodness).
The girls' personalities are so obvious, even at this age and in such a short time. I try to be cognizant of fairness, because we all know 6 year-old girls are very aware of fairness (or more accurately, unfairness).
I find a lot of joy in watching them learn and grow in Jesus. It makes me a little sad that I wasn't exposed to this type of church atmosphere as a child. And, it reinforces the choices that Mike and I have made for Abby.
Each week, we complete activities and I plan on bringing my camera. I forgot the first two weeks completely (until I got home). Last night, I was super excited to remember the camera on the way out the door. But, guess what? I forgot to actually take it out of my purse the entire night (until I got home). My goal is to actually take some pictures next week. I have a feeling these girls will be happy to "ham" it up for the camera.
Each week, Abby has improved her behavior. It wasn't bad to begin with, but you know how moms tend to expect more from their own children than they do others. I definitely fall into that category. Before the first class, I tried to explain this to Abby - reminding her that I'm her mom AND teacher. I'm only a teacher for the other girls. I explained my expectations for her (lead by example, no bossy words) and reminded her that I won't hesitate to call her out (and out into the hall) if she isn't doing those things. The first week was a little bit of a challenge. We've never been in a classroom setting together. Being at home and being in a class with your peers are two completely different things and Abby learned that quickly. (Abby doesn't like being reprimanded in front of her friends. No one does. But reprimands from a teacher aren't nearly as tough for her as reprimands from me.)
Another rule that I had to add for Abby - no snuggling, hugging, etc. during class. Abby is huge on affection and I love that about her. But, I didn't think it would be fair for her to hug and snuggle on her mom during class when most of the other girls can't do that. So, I set aside time before Wednesday activities start at church. She helps me setup for class and we get in some extra hugs and kisses. I think she's already experienced enough parent volunteers in school, preschool and church to understand why I made this rule for her. She knows what it's like when your mom isn't there and you have to watch another child getting lots of affection that can't be shared. Abby's a compassionate little thing and this really hasn't been an issue. I'm certainly thankful for that, because it's really hard to turn your child away when all she wants is a hug or kiss.
Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to this place in my life.