Monday, August 26, 2013

I have a rant, a rave and a reflection to share but first, I have a little story.  Disclaimer: This story is just that, a story.  I can not stand by the validity of the facts. 

Once upon a time a childcare teacher headed into work.  The night before she had stayed up, completing the final touches on her 242nd fine motor game for all of the teachers at her centers {11 games for each of her 22 classrooms- done by the way, in a week and a half, or so the story goes} On the way back out to her car, she watched a parent share a complaint with another parent.  The parent was FURIOUS that she had to park her car in the back of the parking lot.  She wasn't furious about the fact that the center had an unfortunate parking lot, oh no!  She was FURIOUS, and I mean FURIOUS, that the staff had the audacity to park in the first few spaces.  The teacher was so sad by what she saw and told me all about it with the hope that I could shed some light.

That got me thinking and ranting and yes, raving {although I would never, ever talk to a parent rudely} and so I composed this letter.

Dear Parents of Children Attending Day Care,

I am writing you this letter after completing the second of my monthly staff meetings.  Tonight I met with my infant and toddler teachers for an hour after work to come up with ways to keep our curriculum standards high.  We did this for your child.  Tonight mothers, some of them single mothers, devoted their evening to collaborating on ways to teach your child sign language.  We did this for your child.  My staff are not forced to attend, they choose to attend because they are committed to YOUR CHILD.  Here's what I want you to know about those teachers you complain about parking close to the building where they work for YOUR CHILD.

First, we are NOT a daycare.  We do not babysit your children and color in coloring books all day.  We TEACH your child everything they need to know to become successful in school.  They could not succeed without the tools we give them.  I am not talking about letters and numbers... sure, this is important but, not as important as... sharing, trying hard no matter what, saying their sorry, character counts.  We teach them they are more precious than gold.  We hug them all day long...not because we are paid to but because we want to.  We pick them up when they fall, we wipe their noses when they are sick, we change their diapers and teach them to go to the bathroom.   We praise them when they do well, we lovingly redirect them when they get nutty.  We play with them, make them laugh, wipe their tears, build them up.  We do all of this while still ensuring that YOUR child will pass their Kindergarten exam with flying colors.

We are not referred to as teachers, by you or the public.  We do not have a union, we do not have politicians working for our best interest, we do not get to be called an "educator".  We do not have awards named after us.  Some of our very best teachers will never know the pride of receiving a high honor in her field.  We are referred to as day care workers.   We make less than a garbage man.  Most of you don't even know our first names.  When we have teacher appreciation week only 10 of you {this is a real number} will remember.  Ten of you.

Their are days we all second guess our field.  Days where the bad outweighs the good.  We all know we would get more respect, admiration and acknowledgement working the counter of a McDonalds.  We at least would be thanked when we deliver your food.  But, let me tell you what we would not get.  We would not get to spend countless hours holding your child on our laps while reading Dr. Seuss.  We would not get the squeals on the playground after chasing your child around the swingset for the hundredth time that day.  We would never see the look of fierce determination of watching your child write the first letter of his name or get the look of sweet success after they do.  We would not get to hear our names called in the sweet little voice that your child has attached to our hearts.  Those are things that can not be replicated.

We work harder for your child than you could possibly know.  Tonight as I looked around the room at the 23 women who showed up to make their classrooms stronger I couldn't help but feel extremely blessed to work with these women.  I was immensely grateful that my children grew up in their arms and in their hearts.  I only wish you could see them the way that I do.  If you did, you could never pay them enough, praise them enough.  You would know what I know now, my children are who they are because of women and men like them.  My kids turned out great... yours will too, in part because of the group of nameless women that work tirelessly to make sure they do. 

A Proud Teacher

This week I challenge any mom or dad with a child in a Daycare center to first, introduce yourself and work hard to remember the name of the teacher caring for your child 40+ hours a week.  Second, thank them.  We all love goodies and treats but what we really love is just an old fashioned thank you.  Lastly, look around your child's class and really pay attention to all of the time, energy and money {often their own} that they have put into your child's class.  Not because they have to but because they wanted to... for you... for your child.

End Rant.

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