My name is Nicole Manseau and I am the new full-day kindergarten teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.
I also happen to be one of the three full-day kindergarten teachers who started the year off without an aide.
I cannot even begin to tell you what it is like to start off the school year without any help — I spent the majority of my time managing behaviors when I should have been teaching and providing my students with academic opportunities.
Instead of teaching I was busy tying shoes, putting band-aids on cuts, monitoring the bathroom, reminding students how to sit, reminding students how to stand, reminding and teaching students how to line up, turning on and off the water, wiping up spills, calling the office for behavior problems calling the custodian for “accidents.”
When I finally managed to do something academically and students were sent to their seats to work — handful of students finished almost instantly and needed something to do while they waited, another handful needed reminders about what they are supposed to be doing, another group of children often spent their time wandering around and avoiding their work, while the last group of children had no idea what they were expected to do (this last group needed one-on-one support which is impossible to provide when you are one adult working with 20 children).
The addition of a 12-hour aide to my classroom has been amazing. She helps to “fix” cuts and bruises, she helps manage behaviors, and she provides academic support to all of the students in my classroom.
In addition to being interrupted less during lessons I am also finding it easier to accomplish more “things” academically.
Furthermore I am able to spend more time with those “struggling” students. Without another adult in my classroom I would have a very difficult time meeting the needs of all of my students.
The hours that my aide is in my classroom feel the most productive and most successful.
I urge you to continue funding kindergarten aides I can’t put into words how important they are to our classrooms.
Full-Day Kindergarten Teacher
Woodrow Wilson Elementary