I have always loved kids. Even as a teenager, my relatives would call me Mary Poppins because for some reason, my younger cousins just loved to follow me around. I enjoyed taking care of them, too.
I have always been patient with little children, whether they were my cousins or my nephews and nieces… even our neighbors’ kids. I would hang out with whoever wanted to hang out with me.
I would read them books, tell them stories and jokes, sing them songs. Plus, I also liked the fact that I could sing lullabies and nursery rhymes out loud without them laughing at me. With kids, you don’t have to perform like you’re in Broadway. Sometimes they even like it more when you are singing off key. They think it’s fun. They think you’re fun!
I also spent a lot of time with my younger brother’s friends. I would tutor whoever needed tutoring — and I did it for free. I liked sharing knowledge. I liked answering their many why’s. When I didn’t know the answer, I liked researching to come up with the correct reply.
I liked teaching kids… And I valued the lessons I learned from them, as well. It is a two-way thing.
One thing I like about teaching really young kids is that you start on a clean slate. More often than not, they are eager to learn and they show a certain enthusiasm in learning that makes you as a teacher want to give nothing but the best. When you know that you are shaping someone’s future — and that you see their willingness to learn, it is embarrassing not to give them what they deserve.
Some ten or twelve years back –when my son started going to a ‘big’ school– I realized that I had time to spare, so I decided to take teaching seriously. I studied again, I took Child Psychology and Early Childhood Education Programs, I got a certificate, and eventually set up my own Kiddie Learning Center.
And so for two school years and two summers, I operated a learning center for children aged 2 to 5. I did not teach big classes. I opted for one-on-one tutorials. I spent an hour and a half, sometimes two hours, with one student.
Believe me, when you are with a child, a lot can happen in two hours. You will never know what MAY happen in two hours.
Usually, though, my enthusiasm for teaching was matched by my students’ thirst for knowledge.
Every session was different. Every session was amazing.
My youngest student then just turned two when her parents enrolled her. Unlike her older cousin who was always enthusiastic about writing and being read to, this girl was more playful… That basically meant she wanted to play more than “study.”
Oh, she could be a handful. She couldn’t keep still, was always fidgeting. She would hold the crayon for five seconds then will throw away the whole box when she gets bored coloring. I had to think of creative ways of keeping her attention, otherwise the whole session will pass with us not accomplishing anything.
On some mornings, the two of us would stay outside, under the heat of the morning sun, and explore the garden using our five senses. She was my Little Ms. Sunshine.
I remember her being stuck with me one stormy day… She was so scared of the lightning and the thunder that I had to carry her and sing her lullabies for about an hour just so she wouldn’t cry. My arms and shoulders were so sore afterwards that it felt like I worked out for one whole day.
One December morning, she “decided” she wanted to help me decorate our Christmas tree. We spent an hour and a half studying shapes, sizes and colors of the ornaments while singing Christmas songs. She had a blast.
Like I said, every session was different. Every session was amazing.
In time, life took a different turn. That season in my life came to an end. Eventually I stopped accepting students and started with a new venture. My students got older, too. They started going to big schools, most of them moved houses, some have gone to other countries. For some time I lost touch with them.
Life happened. Life went on. But the memories of those mornings and early afternoons I spent with my young students somehow stayed with me.. and never failed to put a smile in my heart.
The thought that you were able to help shape a child into becoming the best version of himself/herself is something that one cannot take lightly. It is something to be proud of.
I found Little Ms.Sunshine on Facebook a couple of years ago. We are Facebook friends now.
When she turned 14 several days ago, I couldn’t help but marvel at how fast time has flown.
Little Ms. Sunshine has grown into a really sweet and beautiful young lady. I could see how close she was to her parents and how loving she was to her younger brother.
When I greeted her on her birthday, this was her reply, “Thank you, my first teacher.“
My heart melted.
I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, I made a difference in her life. ❤
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6
photos via google images