Saturday, December 8, 2012

Boys and Girls Club Reflection

When I first heard that we were going to teach young children about fairytales, I was very excited but a little nervous.  This is something I have done in the past however I have not worked with children for a really long time, however it is something I really enjoy.  For several summers I worked as a camp counselor and did pretty much the same thing as we did at The Boys and Girls Club.  I have always enjoyed working with little kids, so I was thrilled to do something  like this and involving fairytales into it.  This project is not just a grade to me it an incredible learning experience that I will always remember.  When I first found out that we would be doing this for our final I was incredibly happy.  I do not do very well with tests, so when I found out we didn’t have one it was such a relief.  When students take a final they know the information that was on it for a little bit but then they slowly start to forget.  Having an experience like this as my final is not something I will just forget, in fact it is something I enjoyed so much that I know I will always remember.
 In this experience I learned how preparation and organization are crucial in doing things like this but also many other things.  Something that takes part in this is over planning.  It is never a bad thing to over plan especially when you are working with little kids.  You always have to have a backup plan especially with kids.  It doesn’t matter if you think something will work out, kids are so unpredictable in what they all like and don’t like and how they will behave.  I also learned how to control children, when teaching young children it is not easy.  However if you tell them you have candy or say anything around the lines of that they will get serious and pay attention.   For example, during week three we had to continuously remind the girls that there was a prize at the end because that way they would pay attention and behave.  We also had to do that in our fourth week, when two boys were not paying attention what another boy was saying.  Being able to teach children and get them to listen to what you are talking about is really hard.  I learned how to teach children however there is not really one way that you can teach children.  They are all different, some that we had were quiet, some were loud, some even liked to participate while others did not. 
We were pretty lucky with the children we got each week and we never really encountered any big issues. The fourth week for us was by far the best, the children were pretty much well behaved and our plan worked extremely well.  It was definatly my favorite week because this week I feel that I assisted with this activity more then the others.  Even though I did participate in the others this time I was actually able to help two boys with creating their stories.  For example, one boy didn’t want to write because all we had were crayons and he wanted a pencil.  He got frustrated so I told him if he could think of ideas I would write them down for him.  I really like how everyone worked together because it felt as if we were a team because we were all helping each other out. Each week we had at least one kid that was really shy and didn’t wish to participate.  For the first week we had a group of four kids, three girls and one boy.  The boy wouldn’t participate and as much as I tried to get him involved he didn’t want to so we all just let him be.  After that I was afraid that it would be like that for the next few weeks, I am glad it wasn’t because our next weeks were pretty good.  Other then that we really didn’t have any serious problems and I was really surprised because dealing with different children every week is a challenging surprise.  One thing I would change for next time would be to pick more games that will take a longer amount of time.  We tried to do this to the best of our ability however sometimes it did not work out too well. 
For example, for any freshman that take this fys next year I would have a lot of advice to give them.  For one, working with children is not easy and do not get discouraged if one of your classes with the children doesn’t go well.  Another thing is you do not realize how important over planning and being organized is until your plan falls through.  Another thing I would recommend is to be creative, children love it when games are interesting.  If they are not then they will lose interest which could possibly lead to a disruption.  Some students may think a project like this is easier then a final, but it really isn’t it is just very different.  Working with kids is a really tough job.   It is also important for the new incoming freshman to understand that in their group you never know what gender children you will have so always try to pick stories like Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, and The Golden key.  Most boys don’t like to hear about stories with a princess so try to pick a story and activities that you think will interest both boys and girls. 
The only thing I could think to change about this experience would be the place, but that really can’t be changed much.  As I stated before children get distracted really easily so when we had four times in that large room at once it became very chaotic.  Overall I really enjoyed this project a lot and im considering looking into volunteering at The Boys and Girls Club because I enjoyed it so much.  I am grateful that I was given an opportunity like this, and learned many things because of it. 

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