I've been waiting my whole life to figure out what I want to be "when I grow up." From the age of 4 all I wanted to be was a teacher. A second grade teacher just like my Auntie Jean. I went through all of the hoops (thanks Wisconsin, you had quite a few) and graduated with my BS in Education for Birth- Age 11 in 2007. However, my love had shifted. I was no longer looking to be a second grade teacher like my aunt, I was focused on the littlest of learners... preschool! I had done some student teaching in a kindergarten classroom and loved every moment of it. It was painfully obvious, however, which children had not attended a 4K program before entering 5K. I spent a year teaching at a Head Start in Wisconsin and then quickly realized (after a glance or two at my checkbook) that I couldn't stay. I couldn't support myself that way.
In 2008, I applied to a center in Chicago and within an hour, had an interview scheduled. I am still with that agency today but am now operating in a very different role. After arriving in Chicago, I felt empty. Bored even, which is not what one desires when working with such an exciting group of people! I decided I needed to go back to school and earned my masters in Curriculum & Instruction (emphasis in ESL) in 2010... 6 days before I got married. So the chaos of it all is behind me now and I'm wondering how to use what I have to support the teachers.
As their Education Coordinator it is my responsibility to make sure the teachers feel loved and supported as they strive to meet and exceed the many different standards in ECE (NAEYC, Head Start Performance Standards, Teaching Strategies GOLD, etc.) and do it with a smile. The smile, oddly enough, isn't the hard part! I feel very fortunate to have a strong bond with most of the teachers and I think their trust in me comes from my experience in the classroom as well as my experience with the agency (I worked my way up from Lead Teacher to Ed Coord). Thus far, my focus has been on organizaiton of paperwork and time management, a skill most were struggling with (and one of my strong points).
Now that their paperwork is coming together, I am digging into their environments and trying ever so patiently to help them understand why the decisions they make are so important. Why the placement of one piece of furniture can change the entire "vibe" of the classroom.
Environments have long been a favorite area of education for me and I am trying to make them as exciting and engaging as possible for the teachers as well so that they can share that joy and excitement with their tiny humans. I spend a lot of time watching HGTV and love to reorganize my home on a regular basis! I enjoy going to Goodwill and finding amazing deals on items for home and school. Perhaps some good will of my own will come into play as I attempt to "makeover" one of the neediest classrooms within our agency... afterall, I don't have my own classroom anymore!
All things considered? I'm doin' alright. Just need to get everyone as excited about it as I am...
We're gonna need a bigger boat.