I am a student in college working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in Massachusetts, but you may have already learned that from my first post (this is probably my 3rd post…? school has been very busy!).
So much to say…where to begin….
I’ve always loved writing-I’ve said for as long as I could remember that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Writing is my way of expression, writing is how I let off steam, writing is how I best communicate and understand how I’m feeling and express these feelings to others. I had every intention of working towards a Print Journalism degree and I was incredibly excited about it.
A little after my first semester in college, I needed a new job. A family friend worked for a daycare company and told me she may be able to put a good word in for me if I were interested-was I ever!? I can’t even recall how beyond ecstatic I was-getting paid to work with children!? That sounded like a dream job! I had always loved children and had been babysitting sporadically since I was 12 so this just sounded perfect.
I went for my interview and I was absolutely amazed by everything that I saw. The daycare that I was applying for hosted children from as young as 3 months to as old as 12 years; they had infant, toddler, toddler preschool, preschool, kindergarten, and ‘back-up’ rooms, which usually consisted of kids who needed temporary care (think sick days or snow days), or vacation/summer camp weeks who could attend without enrolling in the center. This daycare was located in an office building and was primarily used by the employees in the building.
I remember that I was (of course) in awe of how adorable all of the children were, but one experience I witnessed has stuck with me and absolutely blew my mind when I experienced it-an interaction between two 2 year-olds. I witnessed one of the children push another child down (or something similar) and the child tattling to a teacher. The teacher told the child to use their words and I watched in amazement as this little two year-old child used their words to communicate with the other child that they didn’t like the behavior. The other child apologized. Life continued as normal.
Except for me, I believe I was speechless (but, as you’ll soon learn, I always have something to say-about everything!- so this didn’t last long). When I came back to reality I relayed my utter disbelief to the director who was giving me the tour. I had just watched two kids-little kids, babies (practically) even!-communicate better than most adults.
I can’t really say much else about how I felt at this moment (as it was…3 years ago!) but it’s a moment I always cite when I tell others why I want to be a teacher.
I got the job and I couldn’t have been any more excited.
I worked as an Assistant Preschool Teacher for over a year. I will forever be grateful for the invaluable experience, tips, ‘what-not-to-do’s,’ and helpful hints I learned along the way.
I absolutely fell in love with each and every one of my kids, being around them every day, and all the laughter, frustration, tears, and smiles that made each and every day. No matter what was happening in my own life, being around children always provided an ‘escape’ from all the crap that can fill our lives at times. I may have had my off days working at the center, and there may have been times when kids pushed all my wrong buttons, but at the end of the day I couldn’t wait to see them again the next. Working with children will do that for you :)
Fast forward to 2012…
I am currently in my school’s Field II education program, where I am working in my school’s on-campus preschool laboratory and learning about Literacy and Special Needs. Last semester, I had Field I, where I spent about 36 hours in an Early Childhood Classroom (I was in a Kindergarten classroom!) and learned about Education in the U.S. and how it has developed over time, as well as a Psychology of Development class.
So what makes you so special?
I’m a very principle based person. I’m very passionate and I am very defensive of moral and social issues.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Teaching children about communication and how to use their words
- Understanding their feelings and the feelings of others (empathy)
- Accepting, acknowledging and embracing diversity
- Positive behavior management and classroom management
- Differentiated learning/instruction
- Eliminating the use of and belief of the word ‘stupid’
- The importance of social skills
Well there’s just a few things I believe in, but that really doesn’t say much about me as a person. Okay, alright-get ready for some more bullets! ;)
- I’m incredibly patient about things that drive most people nuts-like 3hr airplane delays or when children decide their sweet time lining up or getting their coats on. I’m especially patient when it comes to children.
- I am very much a child myself. My reactions to thinks like arts and crafts projects mirror those of most young children. I turn into a 5 year-old when I’m exhausted-whiny and everything (*but in my defense, I’m told it’s adorable, and I’m never cranky towards anyone else, just needing cuddles and to sleep!)
- I can relate to and empathize with children to a scary degree.
- When I’m passionate about something I really go all out-I can’t even count the hours I’ve spent looking at curriculum books, planning activities, day dreaming about my future classroom….
- I’m a very open-minded and accepting person. I’m not judgmental or a hateful person in the least.
- I have a lot of ideas. I’m creative and innovative.
- I don’t want to go with the cliche, naive, over-achiever sounding ‘I want to change the world! I want to make a difference!’ But that really is what I aim to do.
Okay, we get it-but why Early Childhood? Why not Elementary..or Secondary, etc?
I’m getting really sick of the bullets, so I’m just going to spare us all…maybe some lovely dashes to take the place of bullets? We’ll see! The suspense builds! …I now feel completely embarrassed because I’m a huge dork (add that to the above list if you’d like, as it is absolutely true).
-This first dash is just a test, to see if I’m feeling the dashes…yup they work for now.
-Oh wait what was I writing about…too..distracted by bullet processes…! Oh!
-Well of course now I need to make a new section, as I’ve ruined this one
-You’ll learn I’m a bit of a spazzy, incredibly clumsy, and sometimes scatter-brained individual, although I’d prefer the term ‘topic jumper.’
Why Early Childhood? (take 2)
-As of right this moment, I plan to work as a Kindergarten teacher, and there are quite a few reasons behind this decision. The most important being that I want to be that first shaping influence in my students’ school career. Kindergarten is the first year in a school environment (for most kids), and the very first structured environment that some kids have ever been in. This is a big deal. I think that Kindergarten can really set the tone for a child’s educational career, and how one goes about leaving this impression upon their students is crucial. I want to be that first teacher. I want to be the teacher who can be credited for students’ enjoyment of school and for benefiting their confidence and self-esteem in themselves.
-I just love young children! I like that children at this age are still a bit dependent on their teacher as they figure out how to do things for themselves. I love hugs and getting pictures and kids thinking I’m awesome and immensely funny (which, of course, is inevitable, as I’m kind of the funniest person on the planet…self-proclaimed…you’ll soon see that, too). I’m a very affectionate person and I love that I’ll be able to be around the positive, bubbly, high energy that radiates from younger children.
-I am very much against MCAS and ‘teaching to test.’ In Massachusetts, the MCAS serves as a standardized testing system that begins in [public] elementary school and continues throughout a students educational career. Students in public schools must pass the MCAS in order to graduate. Don’t quote me on this for sure…but I’m fairly certain that informal MCAS assessments begin in either 3rd or 4th grade. I don’t believe in standardized testing as a one-size-fits-all determination of intelligence, learned material, and capability. I went to public school until high school, and because the MCAS is only enforced in public schools (instead of private, as well) I did not have to take the MCAS in 10th grade or any sort of test that would determine whether or not I would graduate. I didn’t have to deal with the stress of taking, and, for some student, re-taking the MCAS over and over before graduation. No thank you, the teenage years are stressful enough without a be all/end all test to top it all off.
-I like that Kindergarten focuses on a variety of skills, including skills that aren’t essentially ‘education’ based, such as working on communication, self-regulation, and social skills. I also like that instead of feeling like I will be teaching to test, I’ll be teaching my students the most important skills that they will need in their educational careers, especially learning to read and write. There’s something incredibly satisfying in the idea of laying down a foundation for students to better themselves and their education…this may be another time when I have found myself speechless.
I have an important job ahead of me, but I love challenges! I’m excited, I’m motivated, I’m determined, and I’m capable.
But most importantly, I’m passionate.
I wanted to end this note on a wonderfully inspiring and upliftiting note, but then I stumbled across this quote about being passionate:
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”
Uhm..well, that’s a bit more morbid and depressing than I intended (complete opposite direction I was intending, actually).
I was looking for a quote I feel like I’ve heard dozens of times before..but couldn’t find it. So I may or may not be unknowingly ripping off someone when I say:
Find what you love and do it with a passion.