What could be so hard about teaching kids their alphabets and singing songs with them? It's harder than you think. Read on to find out the struggles preschool teachers face and why we should appreciate them more.
A couple of days ago, I hosted some guests. In addition to my kids, we had a grand total of 5 children with us that evening. While of course they were lovely and endearing, I can’t help but admit that I heaved a huge sigh of relief when the guests had left and my children were in bed that night. I was exhausted. As I prepared to go to bed, I thought of my children’s teachers and realized that indeed, preschool teachers are unsung heroes.
Yes, I’ll say that again and with full conviction that preschool teachers are unsung heroes and I think they deserve way more credit and kindness than they currently get. Here’s why.
If you are a parent to more than one child, or if you’ve ever babysat a few kids, you would know just how much of mayhem it can be when kids get together. By 5 in the evening, the house is in disarray and most moms are desperately clinging on to their sanity, counting the hours to the kids’ bedtime.
Here’s the thing. As moms, we have our good days and we have our trying days. When our children drive us up the wall, there are times that we lose our composure, there are times that we yell at them, or even smack them, and there are times that we find ourselves completely breaking down.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to what preschool teachers go through all day, every day. Children can get extremely difficult and we all know there is no way to sugar coat that. And preschool teachers are unsung heroes for in the midst of the mayhem and cacophony of a class full of children, they almost always maintain their composure.
Preschool teachers are unsung heroes for they don’t yell at our kids or smack them, no matter how difficult they get. And no, they don’t have the option of occasionally allowing the television or Ipad to take over while they get a breather. They don’t have the option of bribing children with a trip to the zoo over the weekend, or ice cream treats if they behave themselves.
And yet, these beautiful souls get through the entire day smiling and caring for our children. Being a preschool teacher is truly 'heartwork'.
Often, people underestimate the intensity of their job. They dismiss it as ‘easy’ and some even say, Oh what can be so difficult about teaching a bunch of kids their alphabets and singing nursery rhymes all day?
I dare you to take up the challenge and try being a preschool teacher for one day.
Where most other jobs are concerned, if you are having a bad day, or you have a lot going through your mind, you can choose to be reclusive and just sulk in a corner and get your work done. You can tell your colleagues that you are having a bad day and don’t really feel so good. Adults empathize. Children don’t, simply because they can’t.
Preschool teachers are unsung heroes for just how much of themselves they give to their job. Have you ever noticed how widely, and sincerely, your child’s teacher smiles when she receives him every single morning?
Imagine having to do that when you were up all night caring for your own sick child. Imagine having to do that when your boss is giving you immense pressure. Imagine having to do that when you’re in the midst of an emotional crisis and all you want to do is curl up in bed and cry.
In addition, no matter how bad of a day they have, preschool teachers can’t afford to not focus on their job. We all know the disaster that can strike when you take your eyes off a child for just a few seconds. Imagine the amount of focus and concentration it takes to keep a class full of children safe, happy and in order? Any doubts that preschool teachers are unsung heroes?
And if all of that isn’t tough enough, they have to deal with us, parents. And moms, you know just how difficult parents can get. Imagine being held accountable for every bump and scratch on 15 different children. Imagine having to answer a barrage of questions every other day, from why child A fought with child B, to why child C went home in tears the previous day to why child D lost his waterbottle, you get the drift.
And on top of all of these, preschool teachers are unsung heroes for they bear an incredibly huge responsibility. A child’s first taste of education can either ignite a spark that burns bright for the rest of his life, or leave a trauma that wounds him for the rest of his life.
So be kind to preschool teachers. Instead of having a sense of entitlement and always expecting them to be at your disposal, take the time to smile at them in the morning when you drop your child off. When you fetch your child in the evening, spare a moment to ask the teacher how her day went. Drop her a hand written note and a box of cookies every now and then instead of just on Teachers’ Day. Appreciate her. Your small acts of kindness could go a long way.
And to the preschool teachers, thank you for making our children’s first exposure to learning a positive and memorable one. It is because of you that they have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Thank you for being energetic and enthusiastic all day. Thank you for teaching them to sing those cute songs that serve as our dinner time entertainment. Thank you for teaching them to be confident and making them believe that they are wonderful.
Thank you for always coming up with fun and interesting art and craft ideas. Thank you for getting paint and crayon all over your clothes just so that our children can have fun. Thank you for the show and tell sessions and thank you for those Mother’s Day cards that you help our children make for us.
Thank you for remembering our children’s names, their likes, their dislikes and all their little idiosyncrasies. Thank you for telling us things about our children that we never noticed.
Thank you for going home a little later, and making your child wait a little longer for you, because we got stuck in a meeting, or held up in traffic. And thank you for doing it with a smile.
And most of all, thank you for creating a safe haven for our children. The hardest thing for any mom to do is to entrust her precious little children in the hands of a stranger. Thank you for allowing us to work in peace knowing that our children are safe and happy in your hands.
Preschool teachers are unsung heroes. Truly. Indisputably.
This article was originally published on theAsianparent Singapore.