Friday, February 8, 2013

Ripple Effect | ECE Students

Today we welcomed an early childhood teacher into the center to complete an observation for her coursework.  As I escorted her to the classroom, I couldn't help but feel we were creating a ripple.  Her course required an observation of an infant being fed by a primary caregiver.  First I was excited just to hear her use the phrase primary caregiver because so often it's not common practice.  Then I realized how excited I was to bring new blood into the center!  I started thinking about the ripple effect we stand to create within this building, within Chicago, and within early childhood education itself.  Welcoming early childhood students, possibly inspiring them to focus on Birth to Three programming... maybe, just maybe, one day hiring them within our own team... changing the culture of early childhood.  All in a day's work.

Being the catalyst for change is such an amazing experience opportunity. 

The other day, I posted on a former coworker's Facebook page, wishing her a happy day at work and response was so sweet -- "Miss Danielle, sound like you are doing great! I often think of you back in the days at Waterloo! My, how far you have gone! Mom must be proud!"

Goodness.  I was touched to hear someone thinks I'm doing great.  Some days, I'm not so sure.  I was also immediately back in my very first classroom in Waterloo, thinking about how much I didn't know.  I had no clue what I was doing... but I sure thought I did.  How much I didn't know I didn't know!  I thought of those little faces I was responsible for teaching and how much my pedagogy has changed since 2007.  My image of the child is dramatically different.  Oh how I wish I could go back and see those children and hug them tightly (both in apology and gratitude).

When I think back to my student teaching experiences, I am so thankful.  I learned so much and although I didn't pursue a career in elementary education, I still remember how much I loved reflecting with the teachers at that little school in Lancaster, WI.  Seriously, best.  Team.  Ever.

Now I am in a place to welcome students into my center and it is an exciting thought!  I've come full-circle.  I am welcoming potential teachers and am responsible for their impression of early childhood  this is the time when they will get their feet wet and figure out if this is the field for them.  And if they really enjoy their time here at our center, maybe they will come back as teacher candidates when they graduate!  By opening the center to observations and student teaching  I am asking the teachers to be role models.  And I'm sorry, there's really nothing better than knowing you're doing such a great job that people are coming to watch.  Holla!  It's important to me that we inspire the next generation of teachers through a warm, supportive field experience.


I won't sugar coat this environment though; Birth to Three takes a special breed of teachers.  One of our infant teachers got peed on the other day.  We routinely go home covered in questionable fluids. We have numerous conversations about poop. We listen to crying as a form of communication.  It's not something just anyone can do.  But if people can identify their niche early, it will help guide their coursework and career path.  Our team is downright amazing and I'm always looking for equally amazing people to join our team.

At the end of the day, who doesn't like to talk about poop?!


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