So Saturday morning rolled around. We taught most of our classes across the weekend because most of our students had to go to normal schools during the week. My very first class at 8 o'clock was a group of 12 3 and 4 year olds.
At this point I had never really had anything to do with little kids so I really had no idea what I was doing. In they come with their parents. The first few are not too bad they are pretty fidgety but they are pretty young after all. As the next few start to come in though one of the new arrivals starts to cry. Now I don't know about you but even after years of dealing with it I still have trouble with crying children, especially when their parents are sitting in the back of the room watching what I am going to do about it.
Thankfully instead of the usual complement of a single T.A. I had 3 that morning for exactly that reason. Very quickly though all 3 of my T.A.s were tied up with one issue or another. It is amazing how one crying child very quickly leads to a whole class of them.
By now I was simply sitting in a tiny little baby chair up the front of the class waiting and wishing I was pretty much anywhere else. I remember thinking "at least it can't get much worse". You know what they say about thinking things like that though. Right in the middle of the crying and running around screaming Summer walked into the class.
Summer as I said before was a pretty strict and severe kind of person even though she was small she was also pretty tough. I'm not sure what I expected but whatever it was what actually happened wasn't it. Summer took one good look at what was happening, came to the front of the class and stood next to me. The next thing I know she is bellowing orders to the kids to sit down and behave. She started so suddenly and so loudly I have to admit even I jumped a little.
Amazingly all of the kids but one simply stopped. They stopped running around, they stopped screaming and they stopped crying. Slowly but surely all but the original crying girl came and sat in front of Summer and I. From the look on many of their faces I think they were at that point pretty much as surprised as I was.
I've never had a class begin as badly as that since and as much as I felt uncomfortable on that first day I am glad it happened because it taught me a lot about how to handle these kids, things I would keep using for the next 5 years. Don't get me wrong though there was no epiphany here just the start of a very long, very steep learning curve.
Rory McDonald is an online marketer and digital entrepreneur, co-founder of the Online Business Expert and passionate blogger.