TEACHING CHILDREN FOR A LIVING: SURVIVING AND THRIVING
Children. To some, the thought of the word is already intimidating enough – the crying, tantrums, boo-boos and mood swings. Let’s face it, dealing with children is TOUGH but this is what preschool teachers have to deal with everyday as part of their career.
From my own experience of teaching children for more than five-years, I think we can all relate concealing our irritation whenever we hear people say, “It couldn’t be that bad, all you do is teach ABCs and 123s!” (Let’s just roll our eyes in unison at this point).
During my first year of teaching, my Mondays to Fridays are filled with yelling and snot-stains on my new shirt but, by my second year, I began to recognize the plethora of ways to hurdle each obstacle that I would face in the classroom.
My point is that it is NEVER TOO LATE for change during your time as a preschool teacher. Similar to methods of teaching (which are constantly evolving), the need for shaping model individuals in their earliest years has never lost its priority.
Regardless of whether you are a rookie or an old-timer in the world of early childhood education, there simply are a bunch of sites, guides, handbooks, lists, so on and so forth provided out there to guide you in making the best out of your teaching career.
So here I am sharing with you, my own 6 tried-and-tested tricks on how to become a better preschool teacher:
1- Patience is a Virtue
One of the toughest parts of working with children is that… They are not adults. None of us are born, equipped with knowledge on proper self-control for expressing our feelings and emotions. The strategy is to establish good classroom rules, clarify any misunderstandings, and reinforce positive behavior whenever you can. There is truth to the Saint Francis de Sales quote: “What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience”.
2- Parent-Teacher Teamwork
Parents are always concerned about the activities their children partake in school, but children don’t exactly have the best communication skills to answer the daily question: “Hey, what did you do at school today?” Therefore, it is the teacher’s role to ensure that parents are well-informed on their child’s behaviour (good or bad) in the classroom. Trust me, teaming up with parents for the sake of their children’s education will make your daily teaching and learning sessions more effective.
3- Keeping Up with the Times
Teaching methods are constantly evolving to fit the needs of learners which vary from one generation to another. Parents to children of the 21st century seek education that foster confidence, independence and self-empowerment in their child within the integrated areas of science, mathematics, technology, and engineering or better known, as Integrated STEM. As a preschool teacher, always be on the lookout for trends in early childhood education so you are able to adapt and adjust your teaching methods appropriately. By doing this, you will see improvement in children’s interest and participation in the classroom which makes your job a whole lot easier.
4- Trying Every Single Method in the Book
Yes, working with children means that you have to deal with a million problems every day – like literally. These problems can range from “I forgot my toy at home” to “He won’t share with me” to “I don’t feel like colouring today”. Once, I had to deal with a sulking child who suddenly didn’t like the dress she was wearing from home. Children are full of surprises. So, don’t ever feel discouraged as this is what keeps your job as a preschool teacher as exciting as it could get. A good tip to conquer these issues is to remain calm and explore as many different possible solutions. Keep in mind that no matter what the problem is, there will always be loopholes to keep these disruptions at bay.
5- Loving What You Do
There is no explanation for this. You have to be passionate about what you do, or you will not enjoy it. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do” (Steve Jobs): These are the words that I live by to survive my teaching years. Keep that mantra in check and you’re already on your way to becoming a better preschool teacher.
6- Striving to be the Best
There is always room for improvement, for growth, for change. There are plenty of opportunities out there that are provided with the right credentials to grow your career as a preschool teacher. From academic training, teaching seminars, certified workshops and courses to professional development programmes, all these are made readily available to support early childhood educators and institutions on any kind of budget.
Have other tips and advice on how to become a better preschool teacher?
Comment down below!