By Ali Ramsley, naturalist intern
I have become smitten with teaching Sprouts classes. Something about the excitement these kids bring into the classroom brightens my day and readies me to teach.
A day in the life of a Sprouts teacher goes like this: I scan our registration list, knowing which students will sit quietly, soaking up the information, and which ones will be shooting their hands up in the air for every question and the ones that will make hilarious statements throughout the class.
When kids start running through the doors before class, their faces light up when we already have a name tag made for them. Some of them give me a knowing smile and come running up to the registration desk. Others will look, give a shy smile and hide behind mom or dad – even when I know they’re one of the most talkative kids in the class.
The kids face the puppet show curtain expectantly, as I take a seat on the floor and begin talking about what we’re doing in class. My directions are drowned out by multiple little voices yelling the latest thing that has happened in their day. I may hear a love proclamation from one of the little boys. The puppets begin and the room fills with laughter. The kids are so involved in the show, there is no distracting them.
During show and tell I get crazy stories. We’re learning about insects in Sprouts. When I ask the kids if they’ve seen an insect, I’ll get, “No!” or, “I’ve seen millions!” I ask how many insects they think we have in the world, and get replies like seven or eight. So, when I tell them there are billions and billions of insects, their jaws drop and I have them hooked for the rest of class.
Then, we head out to our picnic tables to do crafts. We color a picture of a prairie and then stamp pictures of animals and insects. I come up on one boy whose arm is completely covered in the ink that should be going onto his paper. I stifle a laugh as his father chuckles, explaining his son loves stamping more than coloring.
When we’re done, I lead them into the classroom. By this time the kids are getting antsy: When I ask if they can help tell which puppets are insects and which aren’t, they all say “No!” You have to just laugh and continue on anyways! We count the legs on the puppet to see if they’re an insect. Once, a little boy insisted that a bat was an insect.
We agreed to disagree.
My favorite part of a Sprouts class is when they come up to me after and say, “Thank you for teaching, Miss Ali.” The Sprouts kids inspire me each day. You never know what to expect with a Sprouts class. They have taught me to take life one day at a time and enjoy the simple things.