A life without my little Rosefinchers (FS1)

It seems surreal. I cannot get my head around it! As I sit here, I ask myself the question: why are we not at school? I do know the reasoning behind the closing of our schools. I am grateful that the Government has taken precautionary action to keep us safe. I know about Covid-19 sweeping across the world but I cannot fathom not going to school and not seeing the faces of my little FS1s every day!

I know for some, the teaching profession is dismissed as being an easy job! I know because I have friends that feel it necessary to remind me of this. And the current crisis, well it seems that many think that we teachers are really enjoying the enforced break.

But for me, they are so wrong. They look from the outside in and a reoccurring argument is “look at all the holidays you get”. They have never walked in our steps to the inside our classrooms. They have never watched us ‘in action’. They do not realise how much we all, teachers and students, can achieve in any given day.

No one can foresee the impact that non-contact time will have on both students and teachers but we, as a teaching community, hope to be back in school as soon as possible. Because you see, I love my job and I love what I can achieve every day.

I may not be landing a million dollar deal or acquiring a multi-million dollar company, but what I and my students can achieve every day, well, it is truly unbelievable.

From the child who is in tears leaving their parents on the first day of school to bouncing in the door of our classrooms, or the child who refuses to speak to you on the first day to the child who cannot wait to tell you their story. Then there is the child who spoke a different first language on day 1 and is now the child who is slowly but surely interacting with both me and his peers in a new and exciting language. Perhaps it does not make news headlines, but to me, its breaking news and a major breakthrough all in one. And what, if anything, have I learned from teaching these little people?

I have learned as much from my little Rosefinchers as they have from me. Our interactions on a daily basis allow for the teaching opportunities that I cannot plan for!

  1. First and foremost, honesty! A three year old will rarely lie to you and I know this because the day I go to school feeling less than 100%, they will tell me – “what is wrong with your face today Miss?” or when I ask them about a certain interaction, they will tell me “yes, I said this…but…”
  2. Friendship – At a young age, they will be friends with everyone in the class, they are very slow to judge by first appearances. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt, something that my Mom used to always say to me “never judge a book by its cover”.
  3. Fairness and Justice – These little people have the utmost sense of justice I have ever witnessed. A little friend who does wrong by them, who does not follow the rules, who hurts another child, they will question it, they will look for answers and they will seek these answers. They will also refer to it 10 days later, during another lesson “remember when this happened…”

I see their little personalities forming day by day. I see them becoming more confident, realising their potential and becoming part of our school community. I see my little FS1 children having the potential to be anything they want to be: With no limits, they can rule the world!  And to think that society feels that teachers are happy with these forced closures and the prospect of online learning?!

For me, and for many teachers, we want to be at school. I want to see my class and I want to witness the learning that happens. This is a learning environment that cannot be recreated online, it cannot be planned for because these three year olds have a mind of their own and it is only when they are together that we see the creativity, the imagination, the leadership and the friendships flourish.

However, we will strive to provide the necessary education that all our children need throughout these unexpected time and I will hold on tight to my “rose-tinted” glasses until the day that I can see my little Rosefinchers again.

 

Mairead Cashman
FS1 Teacher
Hartland International School

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