I. Am. So. Happy!
I am so very happy and excited to finally be working at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center.
I have loved this center for so many years, and have put the school on a very high pedestal as a model program in early childhood education.
Maybe my perspective is limited in scope or maybe I just don’t know what I am talking about, but I finally feel that I will be in a place where I can succeed as I never have before as a teacher.
How could that be true? I have worked at some great centers among great teachers and directors with great families and great environments. What makes this situation so different?
Well, it’s the difference between basing your decisions on what you learn as opposed to what you think will work.
(Let me first say I have never encountered an early childhood teacher that didn’t have the best intentions in their hearts for the children. We do what we do because we love the children. We definitely don’t do it for fast cars or houses with swimming pools.)
There is a difference in grounding your practice in academic knowledge and theoretical foundations as opposed to doing simply what has worked for you for so many years. Experience is so incredibly useful, but it doesn’t create success in and of itself.
For example, it may be that a teacher is very successful in getting a classroom to follow a routine by multitasking and micromanaging every child. It works for this teacher, and it has always worked for this teacher. Guess what happens when another teacher who isn’t as skilled at multitasking or micromanaging works with the same group? Everything falls apart.
Using appropriate foundations and knowledge in Positive Discipline and understanding how to intrinsically motivate children versus extrinsically motivating them, however, can lead to a classroom that doesn’t need a multitasking micromanaging teacher at that moment. It leads to children who are not robbed of independence and self-sufficiency.
I am going to be in an environment where, not only are teachers practicing this kind of intentional practice, there is an incredible community atmosphere and dialogue about our work. Strategies, ideas, and, yes, even experience are all a part of the conversation. I am going to have a feeling of safety and comfort in that conversation.
I won’t feel afraid to talk about what is going on in my classroom. I may have felt in the past that I always had something to prove and that expressing any sort of challenges in the classroom was an admission of failure. That just won’t be the case anymore. Challenges are exactly that. Challenges. And even more important, they are opportunities to make things better than they ever were before.
Aside from this movement into a place where intentional practice is the norm and not the exception, I am also going to be in a place that is in lockstep with my philosophies as a teacher. I view the teacher’s role as a partner with the child learning along side them as opposed to the traditional authoritative role feeding information and dictating approval/disapproval. I believe in constructivism and allowing children to construct knowledge out of their experiences and allowing them to define what those experiences will be. I believe in Positive Discipline and being Kind yet Firm while treating children with respect. I believe in the capabilities of children as opposed to limiting my scope to what they are incapable of doing.
The Helen Gordon Child Development Center is a place where I can practice my beliefs. I can hone my skills and revel in my misfires as a chance to make things better than before. I will be working with people who are so talented and finely precise in their craft. I am proud and happy to be a part of this wonderful center.
Can’t wait for September!