I hope you are all doing well this week! Today I wanted to write a post about something that is near and dear to my heart and that is teaching preschool! I haven’t spent that much time discussing my preschool teaching career on this blog and I think it’s time for me to start talking about it! 🙂
I have been teaching preschool for two years and for almost those entire two years I have worked mainly with two to three-year olds. I love my job and find it very rewarding. It is challenging at times but also can be really fun and enjoyable.
Preschool teachers are patient, kind, creative, and loving people. They dedicate their days to taking care and educating young children and supporting their development. The ages of infancy to five have been proven to be crucial in a person’s development.
Despite the crucial importance of a child’s early development, teachers who work with children at this age (the preschool age) are often looked down on and there are many misconceptions about preschool teachers I would like to address.
Misconception #1: That I’m Not a “Real” Teacher:
Several weeks ago there was teacher appreciation week and at Chipotle teachers were offered a buy-one-burrito-get-one-free-deal so me and one of my co-teachers went to Chipotle to cash in on this great deal. When I took out my school identification card the person helping me totally gave me the side-eye! It was is as if he was saying, “Really? You aren’t really a teacher.”
I would like to say that these types of things are exceptions in the overall treatment of preschool teachers but that is simply not true. People look down on preschool teachers and do not see them as “real” teachers. In the world of teachers, preschool teachers are often at the bottom of the totem pole.
Listen up- preschool teachers are REAL teachers. We write lesson plans, we have a class schedule, we teach letters, numbers, and shapes, and we teach children how to effectively share space with their peers among many other things.
We have parent-teacher conferences, we write report cards and/or portfolios, and we collaborate with our director (basically a principal or head-master)-just like a “real” teacher would.
Teaching preschool requires patience and incredible talent. Teaching preschool is a fine science and it requires a very unique and special person to do the job effectively.
Misconception #2: That I Am Just A Glorified Babysitter
This one drives me insane! Many people do not understand the difference between babysitting and teaching. I have done both jobs and let me tell you there is a BIG difference.
A babysitter’s main job is to take care of the child or children. That is it. My most recent babysitting job was when I was caring for two girls ages 12 and 7 at the time. This was an amazing and cushy job for me. My day-to-day requirements were picking up the girls from school, taking them home, and supervising them while they played or did homework. That was literally it. It was one of the easiest jobs I have ever had. The girls were extremely well behaved and I developed a fantastic relationship with them and their parents.
Now onto my current job as a preschool teacher. My day-to-day requirements are managing, supervising, and teaching a set curriculum to up to 19 children a day. I work with two other teachers (who are amazing and fabulous and wonderful) and each day we follow a class schedule, teach many different subjects such as science, math, English, art, and music and movement. We also teach many social skills and the basics of emotional self-regulation.
I have to interact with all of these children’s parents on a daily basis and keep my classroom neat and organized. I must also constantly read the children and their parents energy. If a child is about to have a massive tantrum because a friend took their book away then I must swoop in and handle it, and help the child walk through their feelings. I must be able to effectively read a parent in order to tell that maybe this is not the right to tell them that their child is having issues with authority and issues with the word no. (Obviously I would not say it exactly like this).
Preschool teaching is NOT glorified babysitting and it is completely insulting to all of us that work our butt off everyday in this field when someone treats us as less than because of the fact that we teach preschool.
Misconception #3: That I Am Not Educated
This one is especially insulting because contrary to what you may think you can not just walk into a preschool and teach there. At all preschools in California and many other states, you must have at least 12 Early Childhood Education (ECE) units to even set foot in a preschool classroom. There are four core classes that you must take and these classes help prepare you to teach preschool. Many people in the field choose to take it further and get a teaching permit (there are several levels) which can require up to 20 or 30 ECE units and a practicum class. All of these courses are upper-level college classes and as someone who has taken these classes I must say they are A LOT of work.
The assistant director at my school and one of my co-teachers both have their Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Almost all of my co-workers have Bachelor’s Degrees. It is hard to get ahead in the field if you do not have a Bachelor’s Degree.
To say that preschool teachers are uneducated is simply not true and frankly insulting.
Preschool teachers are dedicated professionals and I hope I helped clear up any misconceptions you or someone else may have about them!