In the pursuit of achieving and fulfilling our dreams and aspirations, everyone has different ideas and meanings of what a successful life would look like. For some, academic growth is a measure of success, while others view financial wealth and stability as one of the criterias of a successful life.
What if yours is to teach children? You dream of one day owning and running a preschool, inspiring people from a very young age with the foundations that you have built through your institution. Does this sound like something that you would like to achieve in life?
Well then, perhaps early childhood education might be your calling. Though, dreaming about establishing your own preschool is not enough. To pursue early childhood education is to take it in stride, all the challenges and particularities of the field to fully understand the impact of quality early childhood education has on children.
Here are 5 signs that show early childhood education is the one for you:
1- You love being around children
Nothing is more obvious than this. To teach children is to care for them too. The job description of a preschool teacher extends beyond classroom duties. The teacher is responsible to alert parents whenever their child has a temperature, the teacher has to feed the child, give the child a nap, comfort the child if he/she feels agitated or uncomfortable, be a good role model for the child, and educate the child, not just for academic progress but to shape the child into becoming someone instilled with good character and moral values.
Preschool teachers are not just educators, they are caregivers of preschoolers where a trusting and strong bond has to be established between the child and the teacher to ensure trust in the teaching and learning process.
2- You have a passion for teaching
The core of early childhood education is, definitely, becoming educators. If you know deep within you that you have great enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with others, providing assistance, guidance, advice whenever needed; then, teaching might be your choice of career.
Now, you must know that teaching adults is entirely different than teaching children. A study has shown that there are three major differences between teaching adults and teaching children which are (1) expectations, (2) autonomy, and (3) motivation.
Children are a lot simpler than adults, they don’t need much when it comes to fulfilling their expectations in the classroom- as long as the entire learning process is fun and engaging, they are happy to just go along and follow instructions. This means you need to have a “creative noggin” when planning lessons for children.
When it comes to autonomy, children definitely need more assistance and guidance in the learning process than adults do. This is why preschool teachers are also babysitters because they literally have to manage the children the entire time they are at school. This means taking them to the potty, helping them wash their hands, and wiping that snot dripping from their noses. In this sense, teaching children means you need to have a lot of patience and empathy to understand that a child behaves they he/she does because that’s what humans their age are supposed to act.
Motivation, on the other hand, is also a lot different. Children are not as easily persuaded by intrinsic motivation as they are by extrinsic motivation. Now, I’m not saying you should start bribing your students as a preschool teacher. What I meant is, you need to learn how to negotiate with a child when a child refuses to follow instructions or disobey the classroom rules. These situations happen a lot when you are teaching children. Some children cry as soon as their parents drop them off at school and when you are their teacher, it is your job to be flexible and adjust the lesson to fit the child’s needs whenever necessary.
3- You view it as a promising career path
This is certainly up to you. Financial-wise, on average, a preschool teacher gets paid the bare minimum as the perception that anyone can teach children, even those without an early childhood education background and qualification, still dominates the profession.
Due to that, those in the early childhood education industry are not given the recognition that they should deserve than other professions out there. But, if you truly are passionate about bringing out the best for our future generations then I assure you that this career-path will feel as fulfilling as becoming a doctor, an architect, or an engineer. The most important thing here is PASSION.
4- You see its long-term benefits
One of the benefits of pursuing early childhood education is that it shapes you into becoming more knowledgeable parents. When you pursue this field, you are taught on the different teaching methodologies of teaching children.
Most early childhood education degrees will offer courses on child psychology, thus, providing you with a lot of information on children’s mental development and health. For instance, at ALFA and Friends, our preschool teachers go through a 3-year professional development programme to educate and train these teachers to be able to implement different early childhood teaching strategies within their own classrooms. This does contribute significantly to your parenting skills.
Career-wise, if you work as a preschool teacher and end up having a child one day, you could get a school fee discount when you enroll your child into the school where you are working at. With the rise of school fees, this benefit is definitely a win-win situation for all parents out there.
5- You have dreams of opening up your own kindergarten one day
Personally, I’ve had dreams and ambitions of starting up and establishing my own preschool too. The thought of contributing to the growth and development of young minds inspired me to become who I am today. I’ve worked as a preschool teacher for close to five years and have yet to regret it since. If my thoughts reflect your own, then say no more. Early childhood education is your calling and don’t let anyone else hamper you from achieving your dreams.