I consider myself quite fortunate. My job as a preschool teacher is a lot of fun. I get to be surrounded by children – who are by nature cheerful. They delight in what are seemingly the smallest of accomplishments, like cutting paper on a line, even though it comes out looking raggedy and jagged and not remotely resembling a circle (or square or triangle, or whatever.) But if I do my job in a way that I consider to be right, each child feels successful. Every child at this age needs and deserves to feel successful. Everything is new to them. Everything is an opportunity to help them develop a self image as curious and capable, smart and successful.
As one of the adults in their lives, I must give them the tools from which to build success, which leads to confidence. And confidence enables a child to embrace an unfamiliar task, to try a new skill, to make a new friend. Confidence can actually facilitate learning, whereas a lack of it can hinder a student’s ability to feel successful, or happy, or deserving. A lack of confidence can impede a student’s ability to learn in later years. I have seen it. It can have a devastating effect all around.
My Personnel Policy states that teachers here at King Street Early Learning Center are expected to maintain a joyous and nurturing atmosphere. Children deserve nothing less. Period. It is our duty to delight with them, to cheer them on, to model kindness. It is up to us to teach them that failure doesn’t mean you aren’t successful – it just means that another try is in order. Sometimes that additional attempt leads to countless tries, which requires patience on my part.
If patience is hard for you, just take a moment and think about just how lucky you are to be part of a child’s formative years. To be someone who can have a positive effect on the life and self image of a child. Just think about how profound an influence positive and nurturing encounters can have on a child, and therefore, our world.