Friday, June 4, 2010

What's Really Important

I was thinking it over, and I realized that most of the time I just keep going on about me me me me me and me.  Then I was  thinking that maybe I should talk about something else.  So - I thought and thought some more - and just couldn't come up with a more interesting or exciting subject.  So - more about me - YEAH!!!!

I am a preschool teacher - it is not a job that I planned on doing - it is not something I aspired to - it is simply the place where the various paths of my life have led me.  To be honest, I was never the kind of kid who loved babies, or the kind of teenager who liked kids.  Still, I ended up working with young children, and have, for reasons that are sometimes unclear (like when a four year old boy punched me in the nose so hard that I was seeing stars), continued working with young children for almost 18 years now.

Maybe because teaching preschool was not what I dreamed of growing up - maybe because society doesn't place much value on preschool teachers - I, while enjoying what I do, have never viewed it as something of great value or consequence - like a doctor who is saving starving African orphans, or a marine biologist who is cleaning the spilled oil off of endangered sea lions.

Still, my recent work on improved self confidence and improved self image has made me consider my work in a different light.

There wouldn't be such a huge market for self help books, clocks that emit tranquil sounds of nature, medications for emotional disorders, or shoes that simulate barefootedness if there weren't so many people who feel like they need those things to fix their shattered selves.  And from where do all of these messed up people's problems stem?  You know the answer - from their messed up childhood!.  From those incidents that left them feeling stupid, ugly and worthless.  Those feelings begin in childhood, and then it takes 30 years for people to realize that maybe, just maybe, they were actually OK from the very beginning.

I have believed for a long time that the most important indicator of success in a child is confidence and they're belief in their own ability to learn and accomplish.  Over the past few years, as the push to make the preschool years more academic (now with report cards and letter grades A through F if you can believe it - I mean, how are you going to give a three year old an F in reading?), my basic belief has been shaken a bit.  With the push to have children reach higher academic standards at a younger and younger age - the focus becomes more about having young children memorize what they are expected to know and less about bolstering self esteem and valuing creativity and thinking skills.

But just imagine a generation of children who believe in themselves, love themselves, and who have the thinking skills necessary to solve world problems and create innovative ways of accomplishing needed goals.  Imagine children who, instead of feeling frustrated or stupid when they cannot memorize things quickly, are made to feel that they are capable, intelligent and worthy no matter what skill level, they have achieved.  Children who are allowed to feel they each and every one of them, can learn and will understand in their own time.  Children whose accomplishments in all areas are celebrated on their individual time schedules.

I am now beginning to think that I have a very important and worthwhile job.  I have the opportunity to help make sure that the young children in my care are happy, confident, self assured, positive people who enjoy their life and who feel good about their abilities.  That's the way it should be, you know?

If every adult took on the mission of ensuring the happiness and feelings of worthiness of every child, the self-help gurus would probably go out of business, but imagine what a wonderful place our future world would be.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe society at large doesn't value preschool teachers, but I'm sure you are of utmost importance to every child and parent you work with! I am 31 and I still remember the names of both mine and my younger brother's preschool teachers, and have very clear memories of things I did in preschool! So... keep up the good work!