Are you seeking out children/parents to interact with? What children/parents are you seeking out? Who are you comfortable/ uncomfortable with and why do you think this is so?
There are 22 children in Michael’s classroom and each of them has unique characteristics. These past four weeks, I have been interacting with all the children to get to know them and in order to observe my focal children. I have also introduced myself to some of the parents, especially to the parents’ of my three focal children. Interacting with the children and parents gives me the opportunity to build a positive relationship with them.
When I interact with the children, I spend more time with my focal children to take observations, such as notes and pictures for my TS Gold documentation that will help me plan my curriculum for my lead teaching weeks. When I think that I have enough observations, I would go to different project areas in the classroom to interact with the other children. I usually try to interact to most of them in order to get to know them, not just my focal children. I see my interaction with them as a chance to see and know what they are interested in and the level of their skill in certain areas of development and learning. My interaction with my focal children and the others also gives me the chance to enjoy my time in the classroom.
When I interact with the children, I only not consider what observation I could get from them, but I also consider their mood and attitude. It is hard to interact with children who are crying or who are misbehaving. Sometimes, they would not listen when you ask them to be gentle or nice to their peers. There is this one kid that I am not very comfortable with. He does not really listen to me sometimes when I try to ask him to stop. I think that the reason I am having a hard time to make him listen sometimes is because maybe I have not built that trust relationship with him yet or maybe because I am not that firm when I ask him to.
To fully develop a positive relationship with the children, I think I have to work harder and try to understand them even more. I also need to work on my communication skill in delivering and expressing my thoughts and messages. But on the bright side, they look happy to see me when I come in the morning and they would even say “goodbye teacher or see you tomorrow”.
What have you learned about parents/families of young children that had not occurred to you before you began this experience?What will you do with that new information?
Being in my mentor’s classroom, I have come to learn more about parents/families of young children that had not occurred to me before I began this experience. I learned that in order to build reciprocal relationships with the parents/families, taking the initiative to get to know them is extremely important. If I do not take the initiative to communicate with them, it will only send them the message that I am not interested to meet them and that I do not care about them.
I was really hesitant to talk to parents during the first few weeks because I was shy and I was always considering how their facial expressions looked like. But lately, I have been trying not to avoid those parents who have serious looks on their faces because I realized that avoiding them is not a good practice for a person like me who wants to work with children and their parents/families. Michael told me that there will always be parents that will be feeling down or not happy when they drop off or pick their child, so I should get used to this kind of situations, so it would not be hard for me in the future to interact with parents/families.
These last few weeks, parents have been talking to me more. Some would ask about how their child is doing or how my morning is doing. My conversation with them is getting longer each time I talk to them, and I felt happy because they are more comfortable talking to me now; we would talk about school or their weekend with their children. Right now, I am talking more and more with the parent of my focal children because they would stay in the classroom for a minute or two and also because I take the initiative to make conversations with them.
According to Copple and Bredekamp, to build reciprocal relationships with the parents/families, teachers have to take intentional steps to build such partnerships. One intentional step is by making family members feel welcome in the classroom and inviting their participation in the program. I think I have been making the family members feel welcome in the classroom by greeting them and taking the initiative to make conversation with them about their morning or their weekend or by sharing things about their child (activities he/she been taking interest in).
In the future, I will always keep in mind that taking the initiative to communicate with the parents is one of the ways to build reciprocal relationships with the parents/families. I consider building a partnership with them as one of the important factors for the curriculum to work because they have invaluable information about their child that I do not know; their information will be a great help to plan curriculum for the classroom. According to Copple and Bredekamp, communicating with them will also send them the message that I regard their knowledge and insights about their child as important and that I care for them as well.
To build reciprocal relationships with the parents/families is not easy. Talking to them once or twice is not enough, which is why when I become a teacher, I will work hard to build that partnership with them. I will use what I learned from this experience and I will always keep in my mind.