Why I Love Being an Early Childhood Teacher
Early childhood is a field which is losing educators every day. Recent studies found one in five educators plan to leave their job in the next 12 months. Why? Because being an early childhood educator can be hard. This is a profession which draws on all aspects of our wellbeing and in which we have to wear many hats. Throughout any given day we may have to put on our counsellor hat, our mediator hat, our salesman hat, our mentor hat, our nurses hat, our repair man hat and the list goes on. All this while we are caring for and educating young lives. This in itself is a minor miracle, as we engage, and converse, and plan, and observe, and reflect and supervise, and change nappies, and clean tables, and all the other things that come with our job. We are heroes. And are we paid to reflect this? Not a chance. But heres the thing, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Being an early childhood educator/teacher is about so much more than the daily duties or many roles we might have to take on. It is the most rewarding job I could have asked for. Because when I plan an experience for a child that sustains their interest while providing a platform for learning, then I feel a sense of achievement. When I observe a child who has difficulty with social interactions engage with their peers, I smile because I had something to do with that. When I do something as simple as changing a nappy, I am rewarded with the smile of a grateful baby. This is why I love what I do. Because of the children. Because of the reward I get each time a little hand places itself in mine for comfort, a small smile is directed at me in acknowledgement, or I see little faces lighting up with wonder and curiosity. I get to be a part of their lives and help shape them for a better future. I have a great responsibility.
Every little thing we do, every little thing we say can have an impact on a child’s thinking. And like Spiderman’s dad says, “With great power comes great responsibility”. This is why when I was teaching, I was intentional in every conversation I had with a child. And now, as a trainer/presenter, I value the impact my words have on the current educators who will go back in to their job the next day and be carrying on all these great responsibilities we have.
Early childhood is currently divided on a number of issues, but in the end, I believe most of us are here for the right reasons. Most of us work with children because we love it. Because we want to help better the lives of children. This is part of the reason we can be so divided. We understand the responsibility that comes with shaping young lives. I am a big believer of best outcomes for children. I think this should be the first question we always ask ourselves when reflecting on our approach to different practices. We are here for the children after all. So if this is central to our philosophy and guides our practice then we are on the right track. My advice to anyone out there doubting their drive at the moment is this: Know you are important. Your pay may not represent it. You may not receive the feedback you deserve, but you are so very important. Love what you do. Find the joy in every moment and be confident in the fact that you are making a difference.