Recently, I finished working as an after school teacher at an elementary school that got me thinking about my experience in school but especially from the 1st to 5th grade. There are incredibly formative times in our lives and can really change how the rest of our lives play out. Personally, I started school in the US in the 1st grade after having moved here less than two months prior. It was fitting that the grade I was working with were the 1st graders. While most of my thoughts are based around the 1st graders I worked with, I did interact with children from other grades so it’s very versatile. Here are some things that I wish I knew in elementary school*.
Live Your Childhood to Your Fullest
There was far too many students who were excited to be older so they could do this or that. I remember being a child and wanting to be older but there were so many aspects in society that told me I should enjoy my childhood. However, it now feels like growing up is sped up and we are not allowing our kids to take the time to truly grow into themselves. There is so much surrounding these kids that tells me to grow up, grow up, and grow up.
Lord, this advice would have been amazing to know when I was younger! It’s something that I have been telling my students if a situation continues to go unresolved it might be better to just walk away. If I noticed that certain students continue to have issues with each other and it can’t be fixed, why put yourself in that position? While this might not apply for students as young as 1st grade, the older students could really benefit from it. Walking away wasn’t an option that I had been given when I was younger but it could have really helped me if a teacher told me it was perfectly fine for me to walk away.
Always Be Kind
I would think this is pretty self explanatory but let me repeat: Always be kind! You never know the kind of day someone is having and your kindness could be what changes the course of their day. There were too many moments with my students where I felt like they should just be kind. Even if you don’t want to be around people, for whatever reason, just be kind and walk away.
Don’t Do What Your Friends Are Doing
Y’all I have caught so many of my kids doing something they know is wrong but did it because a classmate told them to. It’s wild the kinds of things that kids will do and blame it on their peers. If there is one thing I could instill in the minds of my kids it would be this. There were some things I did because my friends were doing it but really, it wasn’t a good idea at all.
*In the districts where I went to school in Georgia and South Carolina, elementary school was Pre-K to 5th grade, 6th-8th was middle school and 9th-12th was high school