Monday, May 9, 2011

teaching is like a game of "Whack a Mole"

Sometimes teaching preschool can feel like you are playing a game of  "Whack a Mole." 

Do you remember the arcade game where a mole pops up out of a hole and you whack him on the head, only to have more moles popping out of neighbouring holes?

Just when I feel like I feel like we are really nailing one area of our program, I look around and see other things begging for our attention.

Last week, basking in a warm glow of satisfaction that came from watching our children so independently engaged in all manner of creative, imaginative and physical pursuits in our outdoor playscape, I suddenly realised I couldn't remember when we last had the musical instruments out.

Was music play slipping through the cracks while we were busily focused on other areas of the program?  (Hence last week's post on Music Play Ideas for the Outdoors.)

Do you every feel like you are on top of everything?

Do you have a focus area for your teaching, program or learning environment each term?  Do you reflect on your program daily or weekly with your colleagues?  What works for you?


  1. Oh Jenny, Whack a Mole is all there is!

    Every week, every day, every minute I feel like there's something else that needs the attention of my mallet. Every time I come by to read what Jenny is writing about, for instance, I see another mole popping out of its hole. I think, they're doing THAT? We should be doing that!

    And then I remind myself that I ought to just let all those poor moles pop out of their holes, give the kids mallets, and let them whack away!


  2. I understand exactly - I am always feeling like I can't keep up with everything.
    In our weekly program we have little boxes to tick each day for the areas of curriculum (literacy, social skills, gross motor etc)when we do them. It helps me look back on the week to see what areas might be overlooked.

  3. Oh Jenny

    I once read an interesting chapter in some book about this. Apparently the solution is to poison the moles. No moles means no whacking!


  4. For me its not just work-my whole life feels like one long game of 'whack'!!!

  5. Hi Jenny

    I think you are absolutely spot on with your imagery here. I spend everyday wishing I could kick all the goals my uni degree set for us plus all if the wonderful things I find online such as yours, Tom's and Juliet's work.

    I think we have to just hope we are getting there most the time and recognize that we have room to always reflect on and improve our program.

    In the meantime, I think that between us all we are on the right track and that's a great thing for the children that we teach.

  6. Great analogy! It's fun to play, no?

  7. Jenny, This resonates with how things feel for me as well, but it does somehow seem like part of the work. :)

    I think I can count on making sure I cover most of the bases through the day, by observing and interacting with my kids, but every now and then I remember "Oh right we need to do more gross motor, or when was the last time we played bean bags, etc...."

    I do have 2 hours of planning time per month, but really that isn't quite enough... I think like other educators, I'm constantly evaluating and planning. (Keeping notepaper nearby and writing down my ideas is a help)

    Reading blogs is such a great way to "remember", and as well come up with ideas I'd never thought of.

  8. Jenny, I never thought about it that way, but you are exactly right. I'm whacking moles here, too. (And finding new ones that pop up.)

  9. Hi Jenny, I know that i am chiming in a little late -- but i feel this way EVERY single day... i will watch the children play in our brand new mud pie Kitchen and think to myself-- but where should loose parts end up now, or how can we fit in the outdoor drum set?? I am whacking moles right along with ya.... i think it is just part of the gig...always learning, doing, extending, ... keeps it interesting though... light and peace to you, the children , and heck to the moles too !! lol

  10. Well I think it's great when we don't have enough time to put it all out there at once. When you're truly following a developmental curriculum you don't need to think of what you haven't done. The children will soon let you know when it's time to move on. I reckon it's when those moles dry up and stop popping their heads out of the holes that you need to worry!
    If you can say ... "Last week, ... our children (were) so independently engaged in all manner of creative, imaginative and physical pursuits in our outdoor playscape ..." then you have NOTHING to worry about about my friend!
    Donna :) :)

  11. I don't think you ever finish whacking the moles.

    I just tell myself that as long as I'm still seeing moles pop up I'm still doing ok. When I stop seeing them, that's when I'll need the big rethink.