I believe an early childhood educator is a knowledgeable tour guide as students and teachers navigate the ever-changing and growing world around them. Being an early childhood educator is not only being a teacher, but student as well. The world is constantly evolving and to keep up we must be continually learning. My parents were both educators, my mother worked in elementary education for many years, most of them as a kindergarten teacher. I remember that she was always attending conferences and college classes. She was always coming home with new ideas and resources, and I never really questioned it, my parents were always doing things like that it was just part of their job I assumed. We often joked about my mother’s teaching collection, and how we had to have a separate truck just to move her school supplies. What I realize now is that my mom was staying current, she was constantly learning new approaches, and best practices. Her efforts to be a great educator to children did not go unnoticed, on her last day of teaching over two hundred people paraded through her room to show their appreciation. There were parents, and former students lined up to show her that she made an impact on their lives and wanted to thank her. I aspire to be an educator that has an impact on the world like my mother did.
I was not called right away to be an educator as I spent many years as a restaurant manager, and teaching and training was my favorite part of the job. Working with all types of people and seeing how they grew and felt welcome made me realize that I was missing my true calling, which was to be an educator. I started as an assistant teacher, earned my child development certificate, and became a lead teacher. When I first began, I spent hours of my own time and money creating what I thought were these amazing activities and discovered that I had so much more to learn. I decided to further my education and earn my associate degree in child development, and I learned about things like open-ended experiences, appropriate praise, and developmentally appropriate practices. That was just the beginning, and I am not done learning yet.
I believe an early childhood educator is committed to always stay current on best practices. The world is constantly changing and part of our jobs as early childhood educators is to help children learn about the world around them. As our communities continue to diversify and culture changes around us, we owe it to the children that we teach to be knowledgeable about that world. Being an early childhood educator means putting aside our personal biases and looking at the world from a variety of lenses. I believe that as early childhood educators we should always be reflecting on what we are doing and how we interact in the classroom. Self-reflection is one of our greatest tools in continuous growth as educators, we are all human, we do not always make the right choices, when we reflect on our day, we learn from that and look to do it better next time. Early childhood education is the most powerful when teachers and students grow together.