What a Child Needs
I recently had the opportunity to step in for a teacher and supervise the Beth’s kindergarten through 3rd grade classroom. Not knowing what I was truly doing, it was a tough two hours with just me and another volunteer. There were about 25 kids, and they were not adjusting well to a change in teachers for the day. “Can we go outside,” “Can we go to the gym?” were just a few questions constantly being tossed around the room. Reluctantly, I answered each question with a resolute “No, what did I already say?”
As stressful as the sheer amount of noise was, and the dizzying motion coming from all corners of the room, It was in these moments that I got to see some of the best in each of these students.
One little boy, Clarence, couldn’t be torn away from his whiteboard where he was practicing his spelling words on a first grade reading level and higher! Another rambunctious boy named Anthony loved showing off his addition skills using flashcards. A boy named Daren and I spent some time together as he flawlessly read one of my favorite children’s books, Corduroy, to me three times!
During our activity time the only arguments that erupted were over learning materials such as whiteboards and crayons. If there was pushing and shoving, it was often to get closer to me while I was reading a book or to hand me drawings to hang on the wall. I began to notice that a common problem among the students was a resource they lacked but valued most: attention.
I realized that all our little ones want is affirmation in their work and a hand to hold while walking down the hall.
As part of the fundraising staff, I knew the Beth wanted to lower our student-teacher ratio to increase learning and participation. But after spending time in the actual classroom, I realized it was also because our students need more individual attention to be empowered in their learning and to encourage their curiosity. As the child of an educator, I was taught strong learning skills because my mother knew the importance of encouraging my curiosity.
I want each of our students to know that their questions and their voices matter, and that they are smart.
Aubrianna Pennington is the Development and Projects assistant at the Beth. She graduated from Covenant College with an English Literature degree. She enjoys Zumba, reading, appreciates sitcoms, and is a sunshine enthusiast.