When I was younger, my mindwas set on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to grow up and become adoctor. I wanted to change people’s live. I wanted to make a difference in theworld. I wanted to help people, make them feel good about themselves, make themfeel better, be an inspiration to others.
As I got older my mind was still set onbecoming a doctor; that was until I became a childcare provider. Once I becamea teacher assistant and started working with the children, my whole perspectivechanged on what I wanted to be. I knew who I wanted to help. I knew whose livesI wanted to change. I wanted to make the difference among children and I wantedto be there inspiration. This is what I wanted to do. My first “job” was at theChildren’s White House Learning Center and Daycare, where I started out as avolunteer.
I had an older cousin who was employed with the childcare facilityat the time and I would come down the White House as soon as I got out ofschool at 3:05 to help, and would stay with her until the facility closed at 6.At first I didn’t know for sure what to do with the kids. I was actuallynervous. But why would I be nervous around a group of toddlers? Even though Iwas only a helper in the room at the time, I still had a great role ofresponsibility to play.The role as a teacher, as well as the teacher’s assistant, helper,coworker, and so on, will be very similar to that of a guide. Aguide leads others down new paths, walks beside a person on a journey, not infront, as well as keeps others safe from harm. Teachers support learningby providing activities and materials that children will find engaging and fun.You must take care of each child as your own and listen to them.
Listen to howthey interpret their words and their actions. By listening to what each childhas to say, you are determining a child’s needs in furthering the developmentfor them. Paperwork, lesson planning, preparing materials, and negotiatingrequires all teachers to have strong management skills to be able to handle thetasks. Being a teacher is full of many responsibilities and roles, as well asfacing many challenges each day. Littleminds are open and excited to learn the new things out in the world.
Maybe onechild wants to become a doctor, like I did, maybe a firefighter, or a chef. Childrenneed those opportunities to explore all of the different careers in detail fromthe very first day of school when the beginning to the very last day of schoolwhen they walk across the stage to get their diploma. It matters what they wantto do. It matters who they want to become. They will change people’s lives. Aclassroom needs to have multiple different career opportunities available.
Arange of books, toys, dress up clothes, puzzles, lessons, etc. Even havingpeople from different career opportunities coming in to explain and give aninsight on what they do for their jobs will give the children a betterperspective of who or what they want to be. Children should have a quality learningenvironment that includes feedback areas following activity questions that willprovide the suggested criteria for quality responses. Engagement activities,such as circle time, flash cards, team competitions, and races will be includedto create interest and encourage the children to want to participate and engagein the learning activities. A variety of learningmodels are used such as inquiry-based learning,project-based learning, direct instruction, peer-to-peer learning,school-to-school, eLearning, Mobile learning, the flipped classroom, and so on.Assessment is just an attempt to get at what a learner understands.
Why are thestudents being tested? What’s in it for them, and their future opportunities toimprove? And feedback is quick even when the “grading” may not be. As an early childhoodeducator, you have so much power to influence how children feel and think inyour classroom. Having a classroom environment which helps children feel welcome,safe, and secure is crucial for the development of a child both emotionally andsocially. Children must feel that their basic needs for safety, love, andbelonging are met before they can take on their journey of learning. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needscan better help us understand why the environment of the classroom is soimportant to the well-being and social success of our children. The most basiclevel of need is that the physical needs of each child. Children must be ableto feel emotionally safe and supported by their childcare provider. A day canbe started off by considering how to manage the transition of a child fromhis/her home to the school.
The arrangement of the room can be almost asimportant in creating a welcoming environment as your warm and caring presencedoes for the child. There is no reason to have expensive furniture or equipmentto exaggerate the ways you arrange and stock each individual activity area. Youcan make the most of the space and supplies you have to show and support theemotional and social development. This too can help with the encouragement of learning. The numberand the placement of teachers and caregivers are extremely important componentsto a supportive classroom environment. Have you ever seen a child pace back andforth around the room waiting or an activity that another child is playingwith? Or even try to go and take the activity away from the other child and aconflict is the result? It’s hard for children to wait for a turn with afavorite toy or activity. Small, age-appropriate group sizes are a must. Focused,attentive, one-on-one time with each student helps build relationships andhelps the children to feel more safe, secure, and special, giving them agreater pathway for learning.
Sociallyand emotionally supportive teachers put relationships first. We see children asindividuals and take the time to get to know each child by spending their timeas an observer of play, and a regular play partner. We support children as theybuild social skills by progressing with them to solve problems when it’s too hardto do it alone. They scaffold play: helping children to build on their ideas,practice communication and social skills they already have, and helping themtry new ideas when what they are doing isn’t working. Having friends and beinga friend isn’t always easy; children need the encouragement and support tobuild positive relationships with each other. Involving families as children progressthroughout the years of school is crucial to the development of the child.
Programsthat invite families to be able to have a part in making the decisions that concerna child’s education help set goals and will help the students learn while theyare both at home and at school. Many strategies for both of the school and thefamilies require communication that focus primarily on the child’s educationalexperience as well as a larger program. Communication takes multiple forms andreflects each family’s language preference. Learningactivities at home and in the community, will be able to enhance each child’searly learning and encourage and support families’ efforts to create a learningenvironment beyond the program. Guiding children’s behavior is something done throughoutthe day, not just when a child acts in a way that is unsafe orunacceptable.
You can guide behavior by establishing predictable routines,setting clear rules with children, and modeling kindness and respect. You arealso attentive and aware of what is going on. All of these actions together canhelp children feel noticed, confident, and secure when at school. Childrenexperience your attention and guidance as a caring embrace holding everythingtogether. This gives them the thought that they are in good hands are going tobe well taken care of. They know you’re on their team. Teamwork makespositive guidance more effective.
When we plantogether, we clarify who will do what and when. Our goal is to be predictableabout our roles during routines so that the children can anticipate what’sgoing to happen and who to look to for directions. Use daily arrival time to set the tone forpositive guidance. Write an interactive morning message. The daily message is for families to read totheir child as the child points to each word. Part of the message specificallyrelates to positive guidance.
To encourage Powerful Interactions at home, weset up a lending library. Books are arranged in categories so children canreturn their book in the morning and make a new selection. A light tone givesus energy and invites positive responses from children. Whether it is simplylaughing aloud, making up a silly rhyme to give a direction, or singing funnywords to a familiar song, we keep our transition times light and engaging.
Sometimes we’re laughing at each other and our own silliness, which makes thechildren laugh, too. Songs and melodies add to the positive climate. Wheninteracting with one child at a time, we use natural, authentic voices.
Choosing thepath of becoming a teacher is one of the greatest decision I’ve made yet. Everyoneremembers a great teacher. It could be one that inspired them to achieve, or showedthem the joy of a particular subject, or made lessons fun. It’s an opportunityto work with young people and make a difference in their lives. Teaching so faris fun, and there are plenty of opportunities tobe creative inconveying information to young people.
There’s a chance to inspire students the same way that I wasinspired by all of my teachers.