We are familiar with the concept of a parents love...the unconditional, often blind, everlasting love that only a parent can have for their child. As teachers we are often expected to have a similar love for our students, blind and unconditional. However, unlike the parents whose genetics made the child who they are, a teachers love is a conscious choice. A choice that isn't always easy. Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is there are students that will come into our lives as teachers that are easy to love and those that are...not so easy. Every teacher knows and has had that child. That child whom, you swear to God, makes it their daily mission to make you lose your freaking mind. In college we learn how to teach children how to read or how to help them grow socially and emotionally. What we are not taught is how to love the child that we, have to remind five hundred times a day that hands are not for hitting, or the one that says "No!" to everything. We are not taught how to love the one that smells and is very neglected. The one that you know needs as many hugs as you can give them but you have to hold your breath in order to do so.
So the question is...how do you love this child? How do you love the unlovable? You know this child needs love the most but you can't figure out how to give it to them because this is the child who pushes all your buttons and frankly irritates the hell out of you. The truth is that I don't know how. After nearly seven years in education, I'm ashamed to admit that I still struggle with this daily. The best advice that I have ever received on the subject is this: find one thing about that child that you do like. Maybe its their hair or their artistic ability, but focus on that quality and compliment them on it every day. Start looking for other strengths because they do have them, they always have, they were just overshadowed by their challenging factors. Your feelings will not change overnight, but gradually you will see the child as they truly are and not as you defined them.
A teacher's love is special! And although it is often not blind or unconditional, it is life changing. New studies say that the relationship between a four year old and their teacher can determine things such as, whether or not the child will graduate from high school, or whether or not the child will be in a jail. Our love for our students sets the basis for our relationship with them and our relationship with them determines their success in life. WOW! Talk about pressure. The President may carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, but teachers carry the future of the world on theirs. This, too, is something they don't teach us in college.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
My purpose for this blog is two-fold. First, I wanted a place to share the hilarious things that see, hear and learn everyday as a preschool teacher. And second, I wanted a place to discuss the challenges and rewards of being apart of one of the most important professions in society today.
Everyday, my wonderful co-teacher and I spend our days planning open-ended art activities, find cooking and sensory activities that are peanut,dairy and gluten free. We also clean up pee and puke, and are constantly asking children to "Please, take your hands out of your pants!" We hear our names yelled and wined at least two hundred and fifty-three times a day (just an estimate) There are days we go home and cry and/or drink. There are times when we go home and frantically search the classifieds for a new job, wondering why the hell we didn't major in data entry or truck driving, but everyday we come back to our classroom and give our best to our students because they need us. For some children, we are the only constant in their life. For some we give the only hug or smile they will receive that day. And for most we are simply the first teacher they will have. I have wonderful memories of my first teacher, I want my students to have wonderful memories of me.
Yes, teachers are underpaid, under appreciated and over-qualified, but we did not spend years building our portfolios and going into loan debt for the money and accolades. We do it because we want to make a difference. Cliche? Maybe, but if you saw my paycheck you would see that its definitely not the money.
So, why do I teach preschool? Follow my blog and find out!