Mary Ross Olsen, Kindergarten Teacher, in front of her home.
"I love teaching kindergarten and being kids' first experience with the school system. I believe that this first year of "formal" schooling should be transformational for all. I like to think that I have the power to "brainwash" (in all the good ways!) children to love school and love learning. With the switch to distance learning this past spring... I'm not going to lie, it was hard. Really hard.
One of the reasons I love teaching kindergarten is because I take seriously the responsibility to lay the groundwork for years to come. I am a relationship driven teacher. I love getting to know my students, their siblings, and their families. With the switch to distance learning, I lost one of the most important things... relationships and face-to-face learning.
Kindergarten is a big year for kids. Of course there is tons of academic growth but the real foundation of kindergarten, in my opinion, is learning through play, learning to problem solve, learning independence, learning cooperation and teamwork, learning to be a leader and learning how to gracefully let someone else lead.
Kindergartners are social, creative and curious! I want, more than anything to build my classroom community filled with trust, understanding, acceptance and love. Distance learning has taken away some of those things. At the same time, I have a better understanding of what it means to educate all.
Questions that I haven't had prior to this persist. Do all of my students have internet access? Do my students have enough support at home to access school work? What can I do to support families who are working split shifts/multiple shifts and crossing their fingers that their kids can do their schoolwork independently? What about my MLL (multiple language learners) students? How can I support their learning and be authentic in my communications?
I have a different lens now than when I was secure in my classroom, when I was the one in control. Without that daily, face-to-face contact with kids...I've definitely learned to push the boundaries of teaching and found ways to connect that I'd never thought of before."