I ask a lot of my team. I have high standards and expect people to rise to meet them. It's a blessing and a curse. We work hard and I love to let them play hard too. We deserve that. I want teachers who love to play. If they can't play, they can't facilitate play experiences for our kids.
Vacation requests are taken quite seriously. We have a fabulous system that I created last year when I took over the center and basically, vacation is first-come, first-serve and only 2 people can be out at once. This helps to ensure we can stay happy while our colleagues are enjoying their much deserved R&R. Sanity is important in this field so I'm not really looking to decrease the existing levels.
I'm down a teacher right now because one of our young ladies had her first baby (awww) and after 12 weeks together, she decided she just wasn't able to return to us. This vacancy has caused me many long days and even longer nights at home getting my actual work done. When I spoke of this issue at our recent meeting of directors, one director suggested that I ask teachers to have mercy on me and reschedule their vacation. Sounds easy enough but vacations are few and far between for us and I know that many of my teachers have BIG plans for their time off; some are leaving town and others are spending time with children. Another suggestion was to "hurry up and hire someone."
I will not hire another person just for a quick fix. We need someone who will stick with us and be a great fit for our little family. It's worth taking the time to find that great fit than to go through the interviewing, hiring, and orientations on repeat. Ain't nobody got time for that! It's worth taking my time and taking one for the team in the meantime. I will cover to ensure my staff gets the rest they need to be their very best for their children.
I'm very much interested in growing my own staff. To me, that means promoting from within whenever possible and bringing in new staff into assistant teacher roles where they will have some time in a sheltered place to learn the unspoken culture of our agency and site and all of the requirements that will be asked of them as lead teacher candidates. It's a lot of pressure to come into an agency, especially agencies with multiple funders, and learn the ropes while learning the children and getting comfortable.
I'm so pleased that I was able to promote one of my teacher aides this afternoon to her next challenge with more responsibility and more reflection! She's been at the agency for quite some time so this was a long time coming but I've had a pretty clear vision of how she would grow and change and take on these new challenges and she has met every expectation and often times exceeded them. I love to check in with her and put my finger on the pulse of where she's going and how I can help her get there. She's almost done with her associates degree and I have big plans for her future; she just doesn't know it yet. But I love that today while we were chatting about her promotion, I asked if she could believe it was happening and her response was "I believe everything you tell me I can do -- you've been right every time."
I love being right. ;)
But I also love that I can be the support, the scaffold, to encourage others to continue their journey in the early childhood field.
Sometimes, we all need somebody to lean on! Ya singing? You should be! ♫