Concordia Shanghai Sep 5 2023

Experience a Day-in-the-Life of a Teacher at Concordia Shanghai: Early Childhood Education

"I am equally exhausted and exhilarated."

day in the life 1


5:45 a.m.           

Harp strums play from my phone and stir me from my sleep. A deep stretch and a quick prayer prepare my body and heart for the day ahead.

6:15 a.m.         

As I dress and prepare for the day, I seize the opportunity to video chat with my daughter in university on the other side of the world. Kisses are blown as mom heads to school and daughter heads to dinner. 

7:00 a.m.          

An early arrival provides time for readying the environment for 18 four-year-olds who will soon burst onto the scene. Children’s family portraits are arranged as reminders of the home-school connection and their nearness even when apart.

7:45 a.m.          

The familiar sound of the school bell rings, and a curly-headed, shy little girl enters first. She’s equipped for the day with her briefcase, water bottle and snack and confidently moves through the familiar morning routines. Settling in with a book, she awaits the arrival of her PK classmates.

8:00 a.m.          

The room is fully alive now buzzing with chatter, laughter, and the busy-ness of little bodies. The Cicadas welcome today’s guests, the family of one of the children, here to share who they are, what they enjoy together as a family, and how their family is special. The familiarity of family offers young learners a comforting transition into the new, unfamiliar Pre-K classroom.

8:30 a.m.          

The room is filled with authentic learning: children solving problems with peers who are unwilling to share, exploring the physics of the crane in the building center, using the computer to research “why the sun goes to sleep at night,” experimenting with print as writer and readers, and imagining family life for the miniature creatures in the small world. As Centers draw to a close, children are encouraged to take responsibility for tidying up the classroom.

9:30 a.m.          

Learning is unbounded and extends onto the EC playground. The Cicadas enjoy time outdoors and seize the opportunity to reunite with friends from PS while I prepare for story time and a related learning engagement.

10:30 a.m.        

Following a full half hour of Mandarin immersion, wiggle time through song and dance allows children’s brains to switch gears and mentally prepare for today’s story, The Three Bears. Building English vocabulary is an authentic, immersive experience in the Cicada class.

11:00 a.m.        

One of the children’s favorite times calls, Art with Mrs. W and Lulu! Before heading out, everyone is reminded to be respectful and responsible so that their time will be fun, safe, and productive.

11:30 a.m.        

Lunch is filled with authentic learning experiences for young children: taking turns in conversation, using utensils to feed themselves, passing the bowls of food, and serving themselves with “just enough” for a full tummy.

12:15 p.m.        

Everyone is eager to head out and soak up some sunshine on the new EC playground. Running, climbing, sliding, swinging, and making music all contribute to children’s physical development. The social aspects of play help them practice skills that will be used for the rest of their lives: negotiation, conflict resolution, patience, and oh so much more!

1:00 p.m.          

A rhythmic whistle signals the end of outdoor time, and the Cicadas line up to return to class for some much-needed rest. This week’s read aloud is a familiar lullaby, “Hush Little Baby.” As the song ends, children snuggle into their sleeping bags and cuddle their personal stuffed friends. This time allows me to answer emails, meet with colleagues for planning, and conference with parents.

2:30 p.m.          

The room slowly returns to a joyful hum of children chatting, playing, and eating snack. A child asks me to read a book, and soon I find myself encircled by curious kiddos giggling and enjoying a Piggie and Elephant story. The Cicadas could listen to stories for hours, but parents are gathering in the hallway. High fives and hugs are exchanged with each child before they leave the classroom. I am equally exhausted and exhilarated.

4:00 p.m.          

Schoolwork is done, so I treat myself to Zumba! I LOVE to dance! A quick shower is followed by a homecooked meal with (and prepared by) my husband. Over dinner, we talk school, share updates from our daughter, and make plans for the upcoming holiday.

8:30 p.m.          

As the husband retires for the evening, my second shift of work begins: doctoral studies. I read a couple of articles and begin composing this week’s discussion post. Until my eyes get too heavy to stay open, I remain determined to achieve my goal for today’s work.

11:30 p.m.

Off to bed! A new day is just around the corner with more learning and love to share, and I must give my body time to rest, recover, and reboot. Eyes close. Heart rate slows. Mind still spins. Prayers are said filled with thanksgiving for the work, the people, and the many blessings of the day.


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