Six down... 38 to go!
Hello, I'm Karissa, and I'll be blogging on Inside Pre-K alongside Vanessa over the months to come. First off, a bit about me. As a school readiness teacher in Minnesota, I teach 22 students in the morning and 22 in the afternoon, four days a week. But my work with my students is about much more than time spent in the classroom.
The headline of this post refers to the fact that I also go to each student's home to introduce myself and get to know the students and their families. This school year means 44 home visits for me!
I travel for these home visits in more than one sense. In fact, in one day earlier this year I was welcomed into the homes of families from Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Liberia, El Salvador, and Lebanon. It was the fastest trip around the world you could ever take!
This diversity is my favorite part of my job. It is amazing that children from around the world are able to come to one place and learn and grow together. Over the last few years I have learned that the greatest learning experiences happen when you ask questions and actively listen. Home visits allow me a glimpse into the lives of families who live very differently than me. Their love for their children is universal, however. Parents want success and opportunity for their children and are looking for ways to support this growth.
I used to joke that people who were mean-spirited or violent had never gone to pre-k. In these times, I sometimes think it's no joke. It seems that if we are able to live cooperatively, respectfully, and peacefully in a class community full of all different cultures, religions, and walks of life, we might be able to get along as a world community. Whatever it is that creates barriers of hate, greed, mistrust, and ignorance as we get older, I'd like to believe that the educational experiences we give three, four, and five year olds can help them make more positive choices.
So, this year like every year, I hope to foster a classroom community that is full of meaningful interactions and relationships between parents and students alike. From Turkish coffee to Vietnamese egg rolls, I know that the weeks ahead will bring many wonderful additions (and lessons) to an already plentiful table!