I only taught in preschool for one school year, but the memories of being with thoughtful, playful and happy kids are still somewhere in my system—and it’s all good.
I had no plans of being a preschool teacher at all, but perhaps destiny drove me to what’s considered as “the noblest of all professions”, short as it was.
The idea of being with children for a few hours everyday may be a source of great (advance) joy to anyone, but it does not mean that teaching children is easy. Having been there, I can tell you it is not easy, but oh boy, is it fun!
Since we are going back-to-school, and if you are a preschool teacher or a wannabe, here are some important facts that you need to know or remember:
1. Teaching children is NOT EASY. Yup, teaching cute little angels is not a breeze. As a preschool teacher, you need your wits about you, and tons of energy and creativity because these kids, they will keep you on your toes.
2. Going to a preschool class unprepared is a BIG NO. Don’t underestimate the intellectual abilities of children, you’ll never know what to expect from them. I remember the story of one of my co-teachers. She got an unexpected question from a curious kid, but failed to explain it well (partly because she didn’t have enough visual materials to support her answers, and children are visual learners!). She got creamed.
3. Integrate Multiple Intelligence in your lessons. Just like adults, children are strong in some points, weak in some, learn better through a unique learning style, which may be one of these or a combination:
- Logical – Mathematical
- Bodily – Kinesthetic
- Musical – Rhythmic
4. Don’t bore your students. Children have very short attention spans but no clowning around is needed (you are, after all, a teacher and not an entertainer). The keyword is CREATIVITY. First rule: Do not let children sit in class for a long periods of time. Allow them to go out and explore. Use real-life objects to explain a concept. Children will soon get tired of seeing flashcards each and every school day, so the best way is to replace it with objects that really exist. Mix teaching strategies that may include dancing, singing, writing, reading and listening.
5. Be prepared to deal with parents. Expect them to be regular guests in your class. They would want to be updated with the progress of their children, so be ready to answer all their questions. Make sure you have an updated lesson plan and interesting visual materials to show them. Parents only want the best for their children, and some of them could be very discriminating, and place heavy and exacting demands.
I was only 21 when I had my first teaching stint in preschool. I was really nervous and didn’t know how to handle myself in front of the kids and their parents.
I had the first day jitters; the shivering was there (which I believe all first-time preschool teachers also felt). But after my first day, I promised myself that I would perform well, really well for the children. Though innately naïve, I had to sing and dance like there’s no tomorrow to catch up with my restless students—and admittedly, it felt good!
Do you want to make a difference in the lives of children? The path to being a preschool teacher might just be yours. You should always remember, though, that through your wisdom and actions, you can make or break them, so do your best to be the best teacher that you can be.