I started this post with the intention of discussing yesterday, which was Picture Day at work, but I think I need to broaden my subject a little more. I have a lot to say on the subject of daycare/preschool.
I teach the four year olds at my school. I majored in education in college with the intention of teaching high school. However, after a semester of field experience with eleventh graders, I determined that was definitely NOT where I wanted to be. I toyed with majoring in elementary school, and then finally decided that early childhood education was where I wanted to go. I thought very seriously of getting my Montessori certification and working toward eventually opening my own Montessori school, but that ended up not being in the cards for me.
I sort of fell into my job at the school where I work right now. I heard about it through word of mouth while still living in Columbus, and called the woman who is now my boss to offer myself to her. She ended up hiring me, and three months later I moved to Corinth and became the new four year old teacher.
I have been working here eight months, and I cannot express strongly enough how much I have learned in this experience.
For example, I never thoroughly understood how much I did NOT want children until now. Don’t mistake that for me hating my kids at school. I love them with all my heart and I have really enjoyed spending time with them and being part of their lives. However, one of the things I love best about going home every day is that there is no child at home waiting for me. I’m sure eventually David and I will choose to have children, but it is definitely not the right time for us. However, that’s neither here nor there. Let’s move on.
I also never realized how much I disliked the popular perception that daycare workers/preschool teachers are nothing more than glorified baby sitters. I can see why some may think that- they might imagine me just sitting on my butt, playing on Facebook all day while my kids smear Play Doh and glue all over themselves and stab each other with Popsicle sticks.
To those people, I would say, “You have NO IDEA what my job is like.”
From the moment I walk into work until the moment I get in my car and drive away, the switch is ON. Working at a daycare is a lot more than just throwing some Legos on the table and sitting in the corner waiting for parents to show up. I never sit down when I am at work unless I am tying someone’s shoes. I know every one of my kids’ likes and dislikes, favorite colors and movies and foods. I dance with them, I run on the playground with them, I fix their hair and listen to their stories. I teach them Bible verses, songs, poems, letters, shapes, numbers, colors, and how to combine all of those things together.
I don’t think I’m noble or some extra-special teacher by any means. I’m well aware that many other teachers do the exact same thing every day and get little or no credit for how much work it really can be. My point is simply that before anyone ever calls me a glorified baby sitter, they need to take a few minutes and try walking around a classroom full of screaming, crying, laughing, fighting, pushing, pinching, kissing, hugging, jumping, running kids and see how very difficult it is to do what I do.
Up next- feathering the nest! How I’m going from a single packrat to a married one- and how to deal with a husband whose packrat tendencies far exceed my own. Are we headed for Hoarders? You’ll find out.