I had the opportunity to chaperone both of my boys’ field trips over the past couple of weeks and I was so thrilled. They actually wanted me to go so I figured I’d better take that chance while I still had it.
Going on these trips always makes me a little nervous. I have a teaching degree and figure eventually, one day, I’m going to use it. I was trained to be a teacher, I am one in my child care, and it’s the natural next step for my career. But I still feel daunted when I walk into a classroom.
My situation is so different – I’m in my home with really little kids, and it’s just easy and natural. When I go in to school I doubt my ability to be in charge of a classroom and have the authority over so many more kids.
I watch how the teachers behave on the field trips. All it takes is one look or sharp word and they’ve got those kids in line. While I follow them around reminding them fifty times to stop running away from me, and they turn around and sass me.
But I have to remember that on these trips, I’m NOT the teacher. I’m just a parent, and I also don’t want to embarrass my own kid, who’s been nice enough to say I can go and trust me not to do that. So I just get through the day without really stepping it up.
But this morning while playing in the driveway my littles started to fight over a toy and I just barked. I realized it was automatic and they responded. I DO have a teacher voice!
After thinking about it I know it’s because here, I AM in charge. This is my house, my rules, and the kids know my expectations. I also know the kids. I know who needs a firm voice, who needs a lighter touch, how far I can let one push the boundaries, how quickly I have to step into an argument.
This trust is built over time, and not just on an 8-hour field trip. During those days I was able to pick out personalities pretty quickly, and I already knew what was motivating some of those kids. If I had to work with them daily I would figure out how to handle them.
And I’d have no problem using my teacher voice. So my confidence is restored. I do know what I’m doing! (Phew.)