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Monday, February 1, 2010

Do you want to teach preschool?

In an article written by Shara Lawrence Weiss, she discusses the many qualities of an early childhood educator. Shara provides a list of questions one should ask when deciding if they want to enter the field of early childhood education. It is clear that Shara is a huge advocate for excellence in early childhood education and I appreciated her article.



Shara's post got me thinking about my path in early childhood education which I wanted to take just a moment and share a few highlights with you...

My first experience teaching young children was at age 14. I was thrown into a 3 to 5 year old preschool Vacation Bible School classroom  because no one else wanted the job. So I took it on. The church was located in the inner city of Houston, Texas and on the first day of class, only one child that came knew how to speak English. The rest of the children were Laotian or Hispanic and I loved it. I couldn't spell anyone's name correctly or speak a word of their language but there was no question to these kids that I had immediately fallen in love with every one of them. And I knew that they had fallen in love with me. At the end of the two-week class, I had 64 preschoolers, attending my class. I know this is hard to believe - but believe it!  My mom reads my blog so she will tell you when I am fudging:)

I think back on my first experience in preschool and despite the language barrier, despite my lack of early childhood education, and despite the fact there was a ratio of 1 teacher to every 20 preschoolers, I was madly in love with my students. I partnered up with a couple of missionaries and continued to teach the kids, while the missionaries worked with their parents, each week until I moved away from Houston at age 16.

After moving to Indiana, I taught, directed, and wrote curriculum for a childcare center here in Indianapolis. I didn't go to college until years later. Now I have an associate degree in ECE, a bachelor degree in Human Services and Management, and a master degree in ECE.

But you need to know that my beliefs and practices in early childhood education are firmly rooted in what I learned during those early years of experience. College has given me new tools and understanding of education in the early childhood field but college didn't make me a good teacher. I became a good teacher (and I admit that I think I am a good teacher) by investing my time in the classroom.


Do you want to teach preschool?
Let me encourage you to read Shara's article so you can see what you will be getting yourself into but then let me encourage you to just get started.

  • Teaching preschool is not an easy job but it is one of the most rewarding careers one can have.
  • Teaching preschool requires skill, passion, and a genuine concern for the best interest of the children in your care. 
  • Teaching preschool demands your time, attention, and creativity.
  • Teaching preschool is about bonding with children, loving children, and helping children develop a love for learning.
For those of you who are already teaching preschool, whether at home or at a school, it is you that I greatly admire and want to encourage. Thank you for all you do on behalf of our youngest learners.

Deborah

11 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks for the link to the article. It was a good one. As I commented there, it all comes down to PASSION. If being with kids and guiding them is your passion, you're in the right place! (You do need to learn how to do it, but you can grow into that!)

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

I agree! Thanks for commenting on both articles!

SharaPCS said...

Funny - we have a lot in common. I taught in VBS, also (3 years, I think). And I volunteered as the Art Masterpiece teacher for 3 or 4 years, also.

I have not yet finished my degree but just like you say - the hands-on work is what really taught me the most. The EDU courses I've taken were great and I loved them all but the on-hand training has certainly been the biggest *plus.* I first began babysitting at the age of 11 or 12. So young but I think the parents were still home at that time. LOL. It hit me, right away: "Working with kids is what I was born to do!!"

As Scott mentions...it's about PASSION. If your heart says, "Yep. I may not have all the answers yet but I know I'm willing to learn them!" Then I think working with kids is something to pursue.

Launa Hall said...

I'm reminded of something I heard among Kindermusik educators when I was part of that community. In Kindermusik, it's good to be passionate about music and also enjoy teaching, but it's better to be passionate about teaching and also enjoy music. Thanks for this great post!

homeschool101 said...

Hellow fellow Hoosier, Lol. I Homeschool but I do teach my little ones. I have a soon to be kindergartener who I have taught preschool since last year. [age 3] She is well advanced for Kindergarten. I am happy to say that I enjoy preschool teaching and older teaching as well. I to also began in Sunday School, Childrens Church, VBS, and Headed up the Nursery for over 9 1/2 years, Whew! Wow. I would like to go back to school but it will have to wait for a while! Thanks for the encourager and link!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

I am thinking if childcare owners are looking for quality preschool teachers - they need to canvass the VBS crowd:)

jenny said...

Thanks for the link - I enjoyed reading the article. I agree with Scott that it is all about passion. Passion for learning about what exactly makes a child tick; for keeping up to date with what is happening in the field because you find it all so interesting; for understanding how children learn and develop and for finding ways to inspire kids to create, explore, experiment and discover. Passion that drives you to keep on trying new things.

Oh, and stamina. You definately need stamina :) And caffeine helps at times too!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Haha - caffeine is definitely a plus!

Ayn Colsh said...

I love the article! I took it to work today and shared it with my directors and some of the other teachers----and posted it on the bulletin board!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Thank you for sharing it with other Ayn - that makes me very happy:)

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Excellent post, Deborah! My first teaching experiences were in VBS too, and you are right about falling in love with the children. Preschool teachers put so much energy and effort into their work with small children and so much of that is under-appreciated! All the wonderful (really good) preschool teachers out there need this encouragement - thank you!

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