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I'm a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Canada, and while it may have its perks, there is definitely a long ways to go before we can fully gain the recognition we so long deserve. I worked my behind off in school, stayed up countless nights studying for exams and writing papers to gain my honours degree just like every other college kid does, and still, I feel like what I accomplished means nothing in today's society. I work in a school setting teaching and guiding a group of 30 school-aged children. And what do I get at then end of a hard day's work?
"Oh, how come you're so tired? All you do is babysit kids all day. How hard could that be?"
Excuse me? We may not be lawyers or doctors or teachers, but we do work hard to ensure that these young children are getting the best care and education they can get so that they, too, one day can be lawyers or doctors or scientists or whatever they set their minds to be. We do teach and help these young minds grow. We give them opportunities every day to try something new and to excel at things that they may or may not be good at. We give them the freedom to explore the world around them and to ask as many questions as they want to without being told to sit quietly at a desk. We give them leadership opportunities within the classroom and have them lead and teach experiences if they see fit. They learn through play and social experiences. Not many children are able to sit at a desk and learn, and we as ECES provide those children with the possibility of learning while moving and engaging. We adapt our classrooms to fit the needs of the children and not for the children to fit within the walls of the classroom.
We need to remember that our children build our classrooms. Early Childhood Educators help children grow and learn. We have fun with our students and help them based on their individual needs. I love my job and hearing that I'm just some "glorified babysitter" tears away at me every day. I want to advocate for all of us educators out there who struggle with being in a profession that matters in today's society. Because I'm here to tell all of you that what we do for our future children does matter, and it will always matter. I want all of you to go into your children's schools, your children's daycares and nannies, and tell them how much of a great job they are doing for your children. Being an educator for young children has taught me so much about myself and who I am as a person. I have grown so much and I have realized that it's not only us who are the teachers, our children; YOUR CHILDREN are teachers too. They teach us so many wondrous things every day. We just need to take the time to step back and enjoy it all. That's what we educators do.