In every career, there are the amazing days when you feel like you are doing exactly what you should be with your life and then there is the challenging days that make you question everything; being an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) is no different.
Some of the challenges are the relationships with co-workers, parents and children and the fact that this job can be draining both physically and mentally.
The field of Early Childhood Education is a primarily female-dominated career (there are some men, and they are wonderful!) but for the most part you will be in a center full of women. In my experience women are amazing, caring and emotional beings and we tend to have very strong opinions, especially when it comes to the care of children. The passion we have as women definitely benefits the children in our centers but can also occasionally be cause for conflict.
Part of what I’ve learned both from school and from being out in the field is that it is important to have an open mind and to be as transparent as possible with your co-workers.
Another challenge of being an ECE is that we have the responsibility of caring for the most important person in a parent’s life: their child. It can be challenging when a tough situation happens during the day with a child that you need to talk to a parent about at the end of the day. Examples of this could be mistaken behaviour, conflict and sometimes injury. It is very important to remember that at the end of the day they are the parents and our job is to accommodate them as much as possible and put their child’s best interest first. Maintaining positive, professional and open relationships with parents is essential.
Making a Difference
The main job of an ECE is to provide care and facilitate the learning of young children.
Being around children all day personally brings me such joy. They are so honest and willing to learn but because they are still learning what is socially appropriate and are very centered on self at this young age, they can sometimes be challenging. Constant assistance in problem solving and teaching children to regulate and manage their emotions can be very draining but when you see them solve a problem on their own, or treat another with the utmost kindness, it really makes the job all worth it.
As ECE’s we have to be completely focused all day on making sure all of the children are taken care of, that we are being positive and encouraging, implementing the curriculum and maintaining a schedule. All of this can be exhausting both mentally and physically but to get through the tough days I remind myself of a quote by Forest Witcraft:
It helps me keep in perspective how truly important my job as an Early Childhood Educator is and how much of a difference I can be making in just one child’s life, and it makes all of the hard work worth it.