A child’s first teacher is always their parents. But what happens when they start school at age 2 (or before)? A preschool teacher is someone who helps children prepare for kindergarten through various modes such as interactive activities, play and games. Preschool teachers play a vital role in the development of children by nurturing, teaching and caring for them.
The journey to becoming a preschool teacher
When I graduated from college, I had grandiose dreams! I would enter the corporate world and make a name for myself and I would become a force to be reckoned with.
Intially, I made a decent enough start with an advertising agency before I stepped into the field of Public Relations. I started small by working in a number of agencies before I made the natural progression to a corporate organisation. Responsibilities were much more, the role was much bigger. From corporate to corporate I switched. Just to make my work more challenging. The pay didn’t hurt, either.
I was on a roll. My personal responsibilities were minimal. I just had to ensure I had enough money to go out with my friends and family and to treat myself to mini vacations and the like.
And then, it changed
All this stopped when I got married. That was a different set of responsibilities altogether. And once my daughter was born, life as I knew it, was a completely different ball game.
I had to rethink all my decisions as I was no longer responsible just for myself and I had to think about someone else now. A little bundle whose entire world revolved around me. It’s a humbling feeling.
As circumstances would have it, I could no longer go back to the corporate world. I needed to find myself a job that would give me the time and the freedom to spend quality time with my daughter.
I did a Montessori course and joined as a preschool teacher. The people who knew me found it very amusing that I was a teacher.
For me, a whole new world of possibilities had opened up. But at the bottom of it all, I was terrified!
I couldn’t imagine myself as a figure of authority to little children. Someone, they would look up to and I could pass on my knowledge to. More importantly, someone, I had to be patient with.
I still remember my first day as a preschool teacher. I was starting a new phase of my life. Much like the children in my class who were entering a new phase of their lives, as students.
Reality sets in!
I learnt how to speak in shorter sentences and how to be more polite with the children. Patience was something the children taught me, along with helping me tap into my inner child while I was interacting with them.
I discovered innovative ways to play peacemaker and how to discipline children, without raising my voice or my hand. Till then, my only exposure to disciplining was with my daughter. The times when “one tight slap” would be enough to get her back on track.
But these were not my children. I was only there caretaker for about 4 hours in a day. What I taught them in class was what they would take back to their respective houses.
The first few months as a preschool teacher went off almost without a hitch. I was slowly gaining confidence in my abilities as a teacher.
This job challenged me like no other that I had to date! I had to figure out how to stay one step ahead of the children every time. Plan my lessons and artwork beforehand. Resurrect the inner artist in me. The last one, however, is yet to rise fully!
And then we had Sports Day. We had to figure out creative ‘races’ for children aged 4 – 5 years. Something that was easy for them to handle and excel in. We had to come up with easy ‘steps’ for the class drill. And those steps had to match with the music we had chosen as well!
Every activity that I did, every ‘event’ that I helped organise, I became more and more confident in myself and my abilities.
I know that I have it in me to be a teacher. It’s all about listening to the children, being more conscious of the children and putting their needs ahead of mine.
I’m still nervous. I don’t want to be overconfident. But tomorrow, when a new batch of children enter my class, I know I can do a good enough job teaching them, playing with them and answering their queries. Imparting my knowledge to them and helping them, just a little bit, to be better individuals.