Fulfilling Journey into After-School Care
On my first day of work in Morning Star, I was very nervous. I had previously worked in the elderly sector, managing persons with dementia. The clientele in Morning Star is very different. I worried whether I’d be able to understand the children and handle those with challenging behaviour.
I remember my first day very clearly. When I had arrived at the after-school care centre, it was Outdoor Playtime. The children were running, shouting and prancing around with their friends. The scene freaked me out. At the back of my mind, I wondered how on earth I’d be able to calm these active children down.
During the first three months, despite working alongside other facilitators to manage a class of forty to fifty students, I struggled in dealing with children with behavioural difficulties. I felt inadequate in my ability to communicate and connect with the children. It was very difficult to understand the individual personality of each child and assign appropriate rewards and consequences.
However, I was given an opportunity to learn from various after-school care centres in Morning Star. I am thankful for the help that I have received from fellow facilitators in these centres. They patiently guided me and imparted skills in managing the children to me. Morning Star also provided training programmes which equipped me with techniques in managing and interacting with the students. Preventive and corrective teaching, effective praise, child reasoning and handling children’s emotions are some useful skills which I now apply in my day-to-day situations involving the children.
Despite the challenges, I truly do enjoy spending time with the children and bonding with them. After working here for two years, I have gained tons of experience with practical skills and techniques and, perhaps most importantly, have built a good rapport with the children. It is this rapport-building process, from being “a stranger” to becoming a role model who can share in their joy, sadness, anger and mistakes, that allows one to earn respect from the children and be able to guide them in life experiences.
Looking back, the switch to the after-school care industry has not been an easy journey, as I constantly had to take the initiative to manage the children and learn to use positive and negative consequences, praises and rewards. That said, it certainly is gratifying to teach and guide the children towards positive behaviour and to see them progressively improving.
Coraline with After-School Care children at a Sports Day event