Becoming a great ECE teacher is about more than just a love for children. There are certain characteristics that help to make you effective at what you do. Studies show the following as key;
Passion. You have to have a passion for what you do on a daily basis. This job is not easy and doesn't offer a great amount of pay so you need to love and enjoy working with not only children but their families.
Perseverance. Willingness to overcome challenges and willing to fight for and advocate for children and families. Stick by what you believe is right, true and fair, especially when it comes to the rights of children to grow and thrive.
Take risks. Willing to go against the norm when it comes to children, families and the profession. It will not always be a straightforward path and will sometimes go against the status quo. Not settling for a simple no.
Pragmatism. Knowing when to compromise and knowing which battles are worth fighting. Sometimes you have to celebrate the small wins.
Patience. In this business you are working with children, families, co-workers, supervisors and the system itself. Some children have challenging behaviors. Some parents are demanding. Some co-workers are lazy. Some supervisors are overbearing. You will need to have patience and understanding.
Flexibility. Everyday could be met with a different challenge. Even when you have carefully planned out your day and week, there are going to be unexpected changes and challenges almost daily. Willingness to embrace and navigate those changes will be vital.
Respect. Being respectful of each child and family is a must. Families are very diverse with many different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. ECE teachers must respect that and know that a child's self-concept flourishes in an environment of respect.
Creativity. Sometimes you will need to think outside of the box in ECE programs. There are sometimes limited resources that limit your ability to purchase commercial items for teaching children. You may have to come up with work-arounds for education aids. Creativity is required throughout the daily lives of ECE teachers.
Tina Oliver, M.Ed
Netwworx Training Academy