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Omg, elementary school

kantor1003

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#1
So tomorrow I'm going to be a teachers assistant in class 1c. 25 kids or so:eek: Not sure how I ended up in this situation all of a sudden, and I have never done anything remotely similar in the past, but I'm excited and pretty dang nervous. I don't think I know kids. I haven't been around them since I was one myself and that is quite some time ago. I have an unfortunate tendency towards social anxiety and a drawing into myself, so being with many people (anything beyond three persons) isn't actually, to put it mildly, my strong suit, but for that reason I think it can be a real growth experience for me.
But how should I really be with kids? Any tips? I mean, sometimes I still feel like one myself. That I'm now about to enter elementary school all over again only that this time I'm some sort of guide along a path towards 'adulthood', and that I might for that reason play a more significant part in the lives of those I meet there. It's an important responsibility, I think, and it makes me somewhat anxious. Am I up for the task?.
Also, I'm curious, do you think it's a fitting environment for an infp, as I think I am, or an intp?
 

TAC

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#2
I think INTP's can do just fine with large groups of kids. I think the naive honesty many INTP's possess is great for that environment. I coach swim team for ages 6-10, group of about 20. The problems I run into most is taking kid problems seriously. I.e little boy crying "so and so hit me, cut in line, said x or y" I personally just tend to ignore this stuff and it has created problems occasionally. But we always get through practice and the kids are generally getting better at swimming and are generally happy to see me. I also tend to not be a control freak with kids. I find it much easier to get them to do what you need them to by giving them lose/lose propositions. Kids, We need accomplish x; we can get there this way or this way. Which do you prefer? Set up scenarios where they feel like they are choosing when you are giving them virtually one option.
Something else I do that is helpful to get kids to listen and apply is add small punishments for doing something incorrectly. I ran a practice where where we focused on streamlines. Did a couple demonstrations of a good streamline. Made sure they did a couple good streamlines to prove that they understood. Then as they swam the rest of practice, I kept track of each bad streamline (This is the correct body position pushing off the wall/diving in competitive swimming btw). For every bad stream line the group did an exercise that was not enjoyable. Hope this helps ease your anxiety.
 

kantor1003

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#3
Thanks for sharing your experience. Good to see that it's possible for other introverted types to manage with children. I'm excited, and I'll keep your advice of giving them two lose/lose propositions in mind :) Still somewhat anxious, of course, but it's like I'm going to the dentist. I don't think it can be helped.

How long did it take you to get into it? Would you say that not always being able to relate to their concerns was/is your biggest obstacle?
And how is it to be the center of attention and being in a position of authority/responsibility? Did it take time getting used to? And is it difficult to keep them in line, so to speak?
 

TAC

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#4
I kind of grew up in the environment of working with kids with swimming. I was a lifeguard, and sometimes taught swim lessons here and there. It's just kind of always been something I've been involved with (Although, I hate swimming, but I'm good at it and I like seeing other people get good at things) on the side. I had the opportunity to coach a team when I moved to Texas, so I took it. It took some time to get used to the kids, but after stumbling through practices for a month or so it worked out. To me, I don't believe the kids need to be controlled as long as we find a way to complete the task at hand together. Honestly, I think my democratic (Secretly dictator) approach takes a lot of the focus off me. I'm kind of a big child as is so I get along with the kids kind of naturally. Not being able to relate to their concerns can be problematic in dealing with parents more so than the kids.
Kid problems generally solve themselves, but parents tend to make situations worse and build tension over time. I recently had to meet with a bunch of parents who complained I was not qualified to work with their children. I had to tell them simply "Your children are here for a common purpose; to learn and grow as swimmers (although many are there because parents use our club as a daycare). I am not their babysitter, I am their coach. If there are problems that need to be addressed let me know and I will address them. The pool is loud and chaotic and my efforts are focused on helping them learn not spotting problems.
They weren't necessarily happy about that, but I'm still coaching and the kids are generally happy. Moral of the story:
Working with other peoples kids is an unwinnable battle. Develop a style that works for you day-day and shrug off the rest. As long as your style establishes expectations and then motivates your students to work towards those expectations, you are succeeding in your role.
 
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