Over the summer I participated in Vacation Bible School at my parish. I volunteered last fall to be a part of the planning committee and in the process of planning I wound up offering to teach the older group of kids; my class was fourth and fifth graders.
This age group is commonly thought to be a little bit of a challenging group to handle because they are still being asked to function as kids in the group when they know there is so little difference between themselves and middle-school students. Many kids who are much younger seem to be more child-like, and at the same time they are aware of the fact that there is only about a year keeping them from volunteering to lead in some way. I offered to work with this age group for two reasons: first when I volunteered in middle school at Vacation Bible School I worked with the same age group and had great success keeping the kids in line and keeping everyone happy. I had a lot of feedback from the leadership saying that I had done very well, so I felt confident that I would be able to pull it off again. Second I knew that fewer kids of this age would be attending and I felt more confident leading a “harder” group with fewer kids then the “easier” group with many more kids.
I can report that the experience was very successful, and I am glad that I did it. As a future teacher I have heard many times that the job will exhaust me, but to be honest I have never fully believed that, or perhaps I have just never given enough consideration to the exhausting part of my future, but all I needed to plan was for a half-hour of learning for six to eight kids and just five days. I was exhausted! Granted it fell in the same five days as my last week of summer classes so I had a lot going on, between writing important papers and figuring everything out, but still this was a tiny crumb compared to the work load I will face as a full time teacher in just two years...
I cannot WAIT!