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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Information for new Teachers to the ECE Field


Each Teacher is Unique

Since I have been in the Early Childhood Field, I have experienced a lot different situations that I wanted to share with new teachers entering the field.

By the time you complete school you will probably have your own philosophy on teaching and how you want your classroom to function.

I believe in students first and anything that is beneficial for the students in my classroom. This can consist of room arrangements, class management and lesson planning.

I am a teacher that enjoys rearranging her classroom based on the students in the class. For example, I might have some students that forget to use walking feet, so I must arrange my room accordingly, or students that like to build long buildings or tracks so I must arrange my room to accommodate those students as well.

I have been at a center that does the room arrangement for you, not asking for your input on what is the best function for your students. This did not work for me; it made me feel like it wasn't my room or professional space. That same center also presented me with a ready-made lesson plan that I had to follow with no space for me to add my own unique ideas. Since I am extremely creative, this didn't work for me either.

However, they did allow me to re arrange my dramatic play area with creative structures for that area; this helped release some of my creative frustration. But with all the restrictions my happiness didn't last long.

I also like to manage my class a certain way, so I work with my students’ on things like where to put completed paper or bounders on classroom behaviors, but this was difficult for me to do at one particular center, because they moved students from one class to another.  For example, if you worked with Pre-kindergartners and the three old classes went over ratio, they would move those students to your class. This made it extremely difficult for me to manage my class when I was getting 3-4 different students in my class daily, this shuffling of students happened every day.

If these things are important to you, it might be something that you ask either in an interview and research before you take the job. See what others have to say about the company then make your own decision based on the people you will be working with and the management team. I find that each center is usually different.

Next, if possible ask for an Employee Manual to look over, or ask during an interview about benefits such as medical, dental, vision, personal and vacation time. See when these benefits are available to you. I worked at a school that did not offer personal and vacation time until you were at the company for a year. Most probationary periods are three months.

Also look through the Manual to get information on holidays off, some companies will not give you Presidents Day, Veteran’s Day and similar holidays like these off, instead they schedule their employee development meetings on these Holidays, although the Elementary Schools and other Businesses are closed.

In addition, look through the Manual to see what your rights are as a teacher and what is expected of you. I worked for a company where the Employee Manual consists of student’s rights and a list of things that a teacher could not do, there was nothing that addressed a student’s behavior and the consequences to those behaviors. It’s important to know how a center feels about their staff, students, parents and directors and the Employee Manual will give you that information.

Observe in the classroom during Center time or free play; to see how the teachers manage their classrooms and how misbehaving students are handled. Talk to the teachers about their positions and how long they have worked at that particular center. Too many new teachers could mean that there is a problem in that particular center.  

But teachers that have been at one center for years can also be a problem, although these teachers are loyal to the center, they may be closed to new ideas and changes; in these situations, trust what you feel and try to find a center that is balanced with both new and veteran teachers.

Overall, find a center that fits into your own professional philosophy, a center where you can grow and learn and one that you can see yourself in for years.

But most importantly, when you feel the need to move on, do not second guess your decision. If you are not growing it’s time to move on.

Best of Luck, and Welcome to Early Childhood

Darla*

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