How can this podcast help me? What’s in it for kindergarten teachers like me?
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For today’s episode, I will share with you what I do and how you can benefit from what I have to say. By the end of this episode, you will understand and appreciate the importance and convenience of listening to podcasts as a means to staying sane and passionate about teaching.
Here’s some background info. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I think it’s probably because I’ve had a whole string of teachers who made a huge impression on me. I’ve had a teacher who dragged me across the classroom by my hair, one who made me stand on the table, one who chased me out of the classroom, one who often made fun of me. I don’t consider myself to be a ‘trouble maker’ in class but I’d have to say that I wasnt the brightest…or at least that was what the teachers made me feel.
However, I did have one good teacher whom I will never ever forget. I’ve shared about this special teacher on this podcast before and spoken about how she connected with me and reached out to me when nobody else would.
When I left school, the one teacher who made a difference was my true inspiration for becoming a teacher and not just any teacher, I wanted to be an exceptional teacher.
I was excited to start my teaching career. I was all hyped up, young and excited about making meaningful connections with my children.
I loved applying and testing out everything that I’d learned from my teacher’s course and was extremely excited to track the progress of my children over the course of a year as an indication of how effective I was, at making learning fun, meaningful and engaging. It was fulfilling and I couldnt be happier with my decision to make a career out of teaching.
Before long, I realized that I was at the top of my game and was able to develop and customize curriculum and manage children and parents better than many of my colleagues.
I wanted to be better still and being the ambitious person that I am, as soon as I got the chance, I did my bachelors and masters degrees in early childhood education back to back on a part time basis while holding down my teaching job in the day.
Half way through it, I was tired, frustrated, completely burnt out and I asked myself ‘What the heck am I doing here?’. I became impatient in class and started losing my passion to work with young children.
I was so close to throwing in the towel when I approached a close friend of mine who was a veteran teacher. I told her exactly how I felt and this is what she said to me: “Try to recall the true reason why you wanted to be a teacher in the first place and identify how teaching has changed the way you look at yourself.”
These two questions are really not that difficult to understand but they are not as easy to find the answers to, as it requires quite a lot of self reflection and soul searching.
After giving it some thought, I realised that the true reason why I wanted to work with young children is because I absolutely love the way it makes me feel when I am able to connect with them and to share in their simple pleasures.
Imagine what it’ll be like if our children get to go to class and have a whole string of really effective teachers who are caring, enthusiastic and passionate about teaching. Better yet, imagine having teachers who are able to help children feel confident, happy and secure.
So here I am, 15 years later, still an early childhood educator, still as passionate about teaching that I’m sharing my expertise and know how with other teachers and parents so that they too can be as effective as I am when it comes to working with young children.
I realized that teaching young children is no easy feat and have come to understand why the many of my own teachers were less than motivated about teaching.
I also came to understand that to be effective, being passionate about teaching is far from enough to keep us going. We also need skills through continuous professional development (reading books, articles, podcasts) coupled by a positive attitude (by being with like-minded people who inspire, guide and pull us together when we fall apart).
This was the beginning of my quest to help other early childhood educators along the way. I lectured trainee kindergarten teachers at universities, teacher training colleges and vocational institutes on a part time basis for the past 10 years. I’ve even written a daycare provider’s training course curriculum and taught two batches of day care providers during my stay in Singapore.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to provide early childhood educators with a platform for them to ask questions, be inspired, get guidance and learn skills which could help in their attempt to be more effective when working with young children. Thus, The Essence of Teaching podcast was born! It is designed to bring teachers back to the fundamentals about working with young children, to get them to constantly reflect on what they do and to fuel their passion for teaching …. this is the essence of teaching.
Now, I’d love to hear from you….so if you have faced and overcome some really challenging times in your teaching career, please feel free to share it with us so that it could be an inspiration to other teachers. Simply visit theessenceofteaching.com/5, and tell us your story on the comments section so that we can all inspire each other.
See you on the next episode where I’ll be discussing a really important topic. I’m going to show you how I deal with breaking the news about children with learning difficulties to their parents without upsetting them. I’ve developed a technique which has garnered very positive outcomes and will share details with you next week.
Till then, keep learning and happy teaching!