An interview with Jane Wierwille. HER ROLE: Kindergarten teacher at Temple Christian School
1. How long have you been teaching kindergarten?
I’ve been teaching seven years. Before that, I subbed here for eight years so I could stay home with my kids. Before that, I ran a daycare center.
2. What kinds of things do kindergartners need to know?
They need to know how to write their names properly. They need to know letters and letter sounds. We like for them to be able to count to 100 and recognize numbers at least through 20. They also need to know number words. We do science. Like, we’ll talk about the weather and what makes the snowflake. We do history. We just did Presidents' Day when we talked about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Our goal is to have them reading by the end of the year – both sight words and phonics.
3. How have things changed since you started teaching?
Well, you have your white board teaching which is wonderful because they can interact with you. We have the computers, and kids are learning the computer at a very young age. It’s helpful with kids this age because that helps them learn their letters when they type in their names. There’s definitely a push more towards academic and structured versus playing.
4. What is your biggest challenge?
They are all on different levels. Some are going to grasp it quicker than others. Then there are those that have had preschool exposure and those that haven’t at all. I love that challenge, though, to find out what you can do to work with each child individually.
5. What’s a typical day look like?
We start out with some quiet seatwork while children are arriving. We take our break and get ready to say the pledges. We do our circle time where we count how many days by ones, 10s – that kind of thing. We go over days of the week, the month. After that, we do our Bible with a lesson and they interact with me. Sometimes, we might act out a story; other times we might have a worksheet on it. Then we take prayer requests and pray. Then we have recess, and after recess we do our phonics. We take another small break, and then we do our math. Then depending on the day, we might have music or gym or computers. We eat lunch. There is another recess and then a small break where they might lay their heads down for 15 minutes while I prepare for centers. In centers, I do a different theme each week. We’ll probably have an art project in there, and I will read a story. We’ll do some science and math then, too. After centers there’s another recess. We end our day with puzzles or we might play a game or we’ll read a story. Then we pack up at 2:50 and we dismiss for the day.
6. Do you see a big difference between the beginning of the year and the end?
Oh yes – You see a maturity. Their attention span is longer, just an overall maturing.
7. What’s your favorite part about teaching?
That’s hard because I love them all, but probably Bible and math. They get so excited. They’re like little sponges at that age, plus there’s a lot of activity and movement with those, so they enjoy it.
8. What’s the most rewarding part of being a kindergarten teacher?
I love when they learn to read – when you know that they’ve grasped it and they’ve got that foundation. They just take off with it. That’s really rewarding or when you see character changing. They might have a hard time getting along or sharing or whatever. And you see that they’re learning to be kinder and treat others better. That’s very rewarding to see, as well.
Jane Weirwille - kindergarten teacher