Going into the new school year, I was looking forward to meeting my new group of students and their parents. These students were mostly two and a half to three years of age, signaling a completely different class dynamic compared to the older class I had the year before. My goal for this year was: to build my relationship with the new students along with the returning ones. With this working relationship, they would trust me to nurture and educate them. I wanted them to know who I am and how much I love them and am there for them. I would like my place in their lives to be a teacher, a friend, and sometimes a substitute dad. In order to gain the trust of the new children, I spent a lot of time listening and talking to them like during lunchtime. I would walk to each table and ask what they are eating, who made the food, and if I can smell their food. In return, I would tell them what I have for lunch and how blessed they are to have caring parents cooking such delicious food for them. It had become a ritual now that kids ask me to come around and smell their food and have a chat.
I would also ask many questions to find out what they are feeling and thinking and showing sympathy when they appear sad or upset. When they come with a scrape on their knee, I would ask, what can Mr. Tim do for you or how can I make you feel better? Sometimes, I would say “how about some ice cream”, to make that child burst out laughing and forget the pain. The subliminal message to the children behind all the role modeling is, you can confidently voice your feelings and thoughts; and you can compassionately help a friend in need.
As I watch and listen to the children interacting with each other in the classroom and on the playground this past year, I observed kids over time started saying to each other how they feel when one is hurt. I also hear one say to another what can I do to make you feel better? I observed kids talking to each other during lunchtime and laughing together. They would help each other like opening Fruit Snacks or Pirate Booty. All of this interaction really made me happy because they are showing me that they are getting confident talking to others and becoming more compassionate in caring for each other.
As our relationship grew as a class, I observed during work time that more kids became more respectful of each others works and personal space. More children started to work together doing complicated works like the Bank Game. When a child spilled water or beads on the floor, many would rush to help their friend. My lesson time with different children also had become more in-depth and more fun. I believe our class came together in this fashion because we took time to build our relationship with each other from the first day of school. It has been a real joy working with them and watching them grow.
Connect with Tim Chen
Right now I am passionate about:
1. being a Christian
2. my new kitten I rescued with my wife at Old Dominion Animal Hospital
3. touring colleges for my son