7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher (A guest post by Carisse Escueta)

Carisse & me on our unforgettable Napa Valley adventure (circa 2008)!

There are few people I know who can match the patient, calm, and quirky nature of my dear friend, Carisse Escueta, which explains why people (especially children) are instantly drawn to her. In many ways, she can be likened to Mary Poppins, because she is pleasant, charismatic, talented, and without a doubt, one of the most incredible visionaries and dream-igniters that I know.

Carisse also happens to be the catalyst and leader behind our non-profit organization, RepubLIKHA, which was created to empower the next generation through music. Prior to starting RepubLIKHA, Carisse spent several years working as a preschool teacher. In honor of Children’s Month, she shares with us some precious insights (with cute photos!) that she picked up while working with kids:

7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher
by Carisse Escueta

Teaching very young children is supposedly no easy feat, and teaching over 30 of them for three hours is close to impossible. Somehow I was able to do it for 5 years with my sanity intact! At the end of my teaching career I realized that I learned quite a few things myself. We are not as different from children as we think. Here are some of the lessons my students taught me.

  1. "Teacher I want to read!"

    Learning is relative. Children will pick up on the strangest things. You might be trying your darndest to teach their letters and numbers, then they’ll start asking you about cupcakes and spaceships. Let them be excited about it and go with their flow. It reminds me that we are all unique and have different views of the world.

  2. Be very specific in your praise. Children are still discovering what they are good at. It helps to tell them EXACTLY what they did well, and why it is praise worthy. It could be how they put their things away neatly or how they played a game really well despite losing. Whatever it is, be specific! We all need to know the good we are able to do in this world no matter what age we are. That being said…
  3. Don’t be afraid to show that you are upset. We all need to learn how to voice our concerns and handle someone’s disappointment in us. We mustn’t raise a generation of people-pleasers but children who are unafraid to speak up against things that are not right. They learn how to do that from us.
  4. Playing is necessary. The job of a child is to play. Let them explore, get mud on their feet, and stink up a room with their sweat. Playing is what helps them understand their world better, relate to others, solve problems, and discover who they are. It’s okay, let them play! When I find myself stuck in a rut, I go out and play too. There is a joy in knowing you are able to be yourself regardless of the circumstance.
  5. Talking is necessary too. Kids live in a lonely world; many activities don’t need human interaction (gadgets, tv). I take it as a good sign when a classroom is noisy; it shows that children are engaged. Most of the time we don’t let children talk enough. I have learned to be quiet and let them speak. Interesting results!
  6. Laugh. Have a sense of humor and don’t be afraid to look silly. Kids are champions at laughter. No wonder they’re so happy! Laugh. It’ll make everything better, you’ll see.
  7. Patience is a miracle worker. Sometimes I receive kids who cannot even spell their name, but by the end of the school year are reading and writing non-stop. Never give up on someone just because they aren’t moving at the same pace as you (or the rest). My kids taught me to focus on the eventual good that comes with determination. Don’t give up on yourself!

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Carisse is grateful for the opportunity to guest on Lizzo’s awesome blog. You can find her (alone) lost in bookstores, zoning out while listening to music, or finding ways to make P100 stretch over a week. She would also love it if you visited www.republikha.org. You can also email her at carisse [at] gmail [dot] com :)

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If you liked this, you might be interested in these related posts:

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