I’ve been teaching preschool for many years. Let’s just round it to about twenty years. I love my job! I’ve seen many people go into and out of this field. Perceptions about what we do are shattered or evolved every day. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It is also one of the hardest. Here is why. A teacher doesn’t just teach ABCs and 123’s. A teacher doesn’t just sit around and watch the children play. We are involved in every aspect of the children’s lives. Guiding them as they grow up. We help lay down the foundation on which they will grow and learn upon. We support the families of the children we teach. We teach them academics, how to socialize, how to love themselves, and how to problem-solve through life’s frustrations. As a teacher, you will wear many different hats!
To get started – Educating yourself is the first step and a continuous affair. Get your degree in Early Childhood or Elementary Education. These classes will give you a steady foundation and distinguish you as someone who is serious about your career choice as a teacher. Just keep in mind that you will be taking classes and training throughout your career. We teach but we never stop learning! One o the best ways to learn is to find an experienced teacher that you can lean on. Ask them questions and listen to their guidance. They will be great at encouraging you, a shoulder to lean on, and a sounding board.
An average day – Let’s start the day at seven o’clock clock in time. Now rewind to when most teachers arrive at work. It could be anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes early. This is when teachers prep for the day. Gather supplies, prepare for the day’s activities. Many times, you will be also conversing and answering questions to other teachers and parents that you see. Finally, you clock in. Time to start. During your day, you will work with your children on these academic foundations: math skills, science experiments, reading, and literacy skills. Don’t forget the fine motor capabilities of holding a pencil and using scissors. Then you need to address the large motor skills such as skipping and moving their body safely in relation to the other twenty children in the class. Intertwined in these daily activities you will be dealing with what I like to call “life”.
Here we go: plunging a toilet with a whole roll of toilet paper in it, milk spills from lunch (never just one), shoes that need tying (knotted from where they tried), a child screaming for a box of Kleenex with snot running down their face, children arguing of a toy car, tattling because “Johnny” is looking at them or “Linda” is breathing too loud, and so on. These are the normal events that teacher uses to teach self-help and self-management with their children. You teach them that less is better with things like toilet paper, how to wipe up milk without the whole roll of paper towels, and just spreading it all over the floor and wiping their own nose and washing their own hands after. The most important is teaching them how to talk to their friend about how they feel when they take their toy car, how to compromise while playing together with it, and most of all how to accept the different ways people act and communicate with each other. We teach them to speak with the proper tones, use kind touches and words, table manners, how to listen to others, and how to work together and be safe.
Working with the families of the children in our class is another important part of your day. How to include them in their children’s activities and how to include the many beliefs and parenting styles. You will field questions about their child’s development, where they lost their socks, why they won’t sleep or eat their green beans. Then there are the things you do that parents don’t see. Scheduling and taking a CPR class, researching, and developing the curriculum you want to do the next week, and buying those really cute pencils because you think car pencils will help spark an interest to write. Sounds busy and hard, and yes you will be tired. But…….
You get to see the smiles, hear the laughter, and receive so many hugs! You get to see and feel the pride they have when they finally sound out the word cat by themselves or write their name on their own. You get to feel accomplished when they move on to the next class and are successful. You know you have made a positive impact on their family when you help them solve everyday issues and help to bring just a moment of peace to their busy lives and ease a parent’s worries about the little things.
Teaching is the hardest yet most rewarding career you could ever choose.
Being a teacher is a calling.
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher