When looking back through my Family Systems book I found something that really interested me. There were seven different comments that were made by early childhood teachers. These comments are ones that several early childhood teachers around the country probably think about.
As I looked at the comments more I began to think of what to say in response. Here is what I came up with.
1. “My job is to teach the children, not to provide a shoulder for parents to cry on.”
Me: While we are educators for the child we must also step back and look at the family as a whole. Any stress that is being put on the parent impact the children. In order to help the children learn and grow we must sometimes help the parents. (That is if the parents ask for the help).
2. “There are not enough hours in the day to plan, implement and evaluate a family involvement program into the classroom.”
Me: I have always heard Crawl before you run! So that is exactly what we should do when it comes to family involvement. Figuring out what type of family involvement works best for you in your classroom takes time. Start off small and as you feel more comfortable have the parents become more and more involved.
3. “I enjoy working with children, not adults. That’s why I want to teach.”
Me: When teaching we work with a mixture of children and adults. Throughout the school year you will have conferences with parents. Parents might also ask you for other meetings to discuss grades or behavior. Parents will also be around for school parties and field trips. A lot of schools have the teachers work closely together also. Teaching is not a way to work away from adults.
4. “How can I include a child with special needs in my center?”
Me: Seriously? Why is this person a teacher! All children learn differently. Having a child with special needs is no different than having 10 children who learn differently. We as educators need to teach to all levels. One way to ensure that this child understands what you are teaching is to work with the family. Once you understand the child and their needs and how they learn you will be able to teach to the whole class.
5. “If parents cared more about their children, teachers would be able to teach instead of discipline all day long.”
Me: Parents do care about their children. Not all behaviors are because of the parents. Some children will act out in class because they do not understand or they want attention. Peers have a lot of influence on the way a child acts in the classroom. All children want to be accepted by their peers in order to have more friends and be popular. If a behavior happens during the same subject everyday there may be a reason behind it. Instead of blaming a parent right away talk with the child and see if there is a reason that you can help with. If not schedule a meeting with the parents to see if they know what is bothering their child.
6. “I love to have parent volunteers in my classroom. They are so helpful when I need to have patterns and bulletin board cut outs prepared.”
Me: Parents should not just be there to cut out stuff for lessons! Have them help out with group activities or different lessons. Parents who are volunteering in the classroom want to be there for the children. They want to be able to help their child grow and learn.
7. “Families need to take care of their own children and not rely on others for help.”
Me: Ever hear the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” It does! The more people raising a child the better! This will allow the child to see that they have people who care about them everywhere. If the child would need something they have several people who are willing to help them out.
Look for the positives in every situation! Being an early childhood teacher can be the most rewarding job in the world but you have to stay positive about your job!