Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't stifle ... nudge!

I have a great team; probably one of the best in our agency (though at this point, I'm also kind of bias).  When a Lead Preschool Teacher position opened at one of our other sites, I didn't have to think twice about speaking with one of my Assistant Teachers about interviewing for the position.  My supervisor said, "Why don't you think about it over the weekend and let me know."  Weird, I thought.  Then she added, "I don't want to break apart what you've been building."

I wasn't going to need the weekend.  When there's a possibility that a teacher (any early childhood professional really) can grow, why wouldn't I want to share that rich experience with her?!  Because it means my coverage is going to get a bit wonky until I can hire a new team member?  I worry that people are being pigeon-holed in positions because their supervisors don't want to let them move forward because of comfort and desire to maintain the status quo.  I think it would be incredibly selfish and unprofessional of me to keep such an opportunity from someone who is ready & willing to step up to a challenge.

I've long believed that professional development and overall growth sometimes requires a gentle nudge; I'm not sure if this teacher would have sought out the position on her own and I'm not certain it wouldn't have been because she was worried about hurting feelings or rocking the boat.  That's not the message I want to send to my team.  If your goal is to be a Lead Preschool Teacher, I'd really like to help you find the resources you need to meet that goal.  We all need to grow.  Without a goal, there's little joy in teaching and early childhood is a field in which people burn out quickly because they have spirit and energy and it's under appreciated.

So let's celebrate those who have made the decision not only to stay in early childhood education, but also to move forward, to champion for the education of our youngest learners.

I'd like to think I'm growing the next generation of early childhood warriors.

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