It’s the Friday before the start of a new semester and for many of my students, their final semester before they go out into the field. This has me thinking about what I would like them to know before they graduate, and I’ve come up with these five things.
- Your education does not end here; learning is a lifelong journey. Keep reading articles, blogs, journals and books, attend workshops, keep reflecting, keep an open dialogue with former classmates and co-workers and continue to build your Personal Learning Network. Keep building relationships with the children in your care, because they can teach us just as we teach them- learn from the children.
- Team work is key. You will have a partner or two, who will have their own beliefs about children, their own educational and experiential background and their own opinions and ideas. It is important that you communicate with each other and work together, sharing your own ideas and keeping an open mind about theirs. It isn’t always easy to work so closely with someone, but if you keep an open mind and engage in ongoing dialogue it will be an enriching experience.
- Money isn’t everything. This is a field where money is a hot button issue and all too often I see students planning their future employment based on which centres pay more. Now, I won’t disagree that money is important, but don’t let that rule your career. Sometimes making a little bit less money, but working at a centre where the staff and the centre’s philosophy matches your own, where you enjoy working, is preferable to working somewhere that causes you stress or makes you unhappy.
- Find your passion. If you are getting ready to graduate or have recently entered the field and this isn’t something that you love to do, then don’t. You have other options, don’t feel like you are “stuck” in this field forever. It may just mean you need to find another centre or another area of the field to work in, or it may mean a complete career shift. It’s okay to take another path.
- And last – Don’t forget to play! It’s easy to get caught up in the paperwork and the tidying and all the other busy work that we get called to do, but never forget that your job is to build relationships and to be a play partner. It’s okay to sit on the floor and play, it’s okay to have fun. It will invigorate you and inspire you, but most importantly it will make you a better Early Childhood Educator.
What advice would you give an ECE who’s just starting out?
Photo by familymwr on Flickr
early childhood education, graduation