I have been a teacher for nearly two decades and I have always felt very priviledged of the relationship that developed between my students and myself. Now, I experience preschool through a new pair of eyes: that of my child. He is definitively in love with his teachers, and so am I. Here's why: they complete me in my parenting, they appreciate him for who he is, and they help him be a better person. And for all of that, I can't help but simply be thankful.
For the first time in my life, I'm on the other side of the fence, seeing my child develop in the care of others. Of course, I am biaised because I had already fell for these two wonderful ladies when hiring them. I also get to see the "behind-the-scenes" which I think is wonderful. Yet, when I drive back home and have my little guy singing me new songs, explaining words to me, or telling me "you get what you get and you don't get upset", I know that his educators had an impact on him. And through my child, I get a whole new appreciation of my two excellent educators. They display all the qualities of great Early Childhood Educators.
According to NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children; leader in Early Childhood in Education), high-quality early childhood educators are the single most important factor in defining quality programs for children. What makes them good? Their passion for education, patience, flexibility, respect, knowledge, sense of humour, and high energy. But above it all, their own set of beliefs towards children and education determines how they teach.
Here are some of the characteristics of quality teachers:
Good teachers know that children are not "production machines": they refrain from making children produce large amounts of work as a measure of their effectiveness.
Good teachers see to the development of children in their entirety; they focus on their strengths, and help them overcome their weeknesses. Even if that means stepping out of the set curiculum.
Good teachers develop children's social skills: they spend tremendous amount of time modeling and coaching pro-social behaviors as well as offering adequate amount of freedom to children to practice such skills without direct intervention.
Good teachers put children first, and the program next: they are well prepared, have great lessons and activities planed. Yet, they adjust their schedule and activities based on their students' interests and moods.
Good teachers don't judge children, they just love them the way they are: yes, they coach them in improving themselves, but they don't judge them in the process. They laugh at their silly jokes, provide them with answers or assistance as requested, and they like the way they are unique.
Good teachers develop a sense of community: they care about their students and having a great relationship with each of them. They also care about the relationship that devleops amongst their students and how each of them relates to the group. That is a tricky one.