a transitory state, and the personal crisis that goes along with it.
I have limited experience in the early childhood education industry. I had one intensive year of uni on that particular subject; nearly a year of being an assistant, constantly caught between the desire to show initiate surfaing from my uni training, and the cold hard fact of having a very minute influence in the daily program or behaviour guidance; and one year of being a kinder teacher for 3 and 4 year olds in a long day care setting.
While I am still struggling along to understand exactly how it all works, I have learnt that there are a few things which someone working in the industry is meant to adhere to in order to comply with societies expectations. Now, I am not talking about national quality standards-interactions with children, good professionall practice and all of that. No, I’m talking about the general belief that all early childhood educators are ‘lovely ladies’ who just think that children of all ages are cuddly wuddly little delights who just need a great big hug. and yoghurt. That, from my experience there seems to be an unspoken rule that if you are to work within the indursty, you must love childcare and kinder equally, because they both involve said cuddly wuddly little delights.
I’m going to blow that assumption out of the water right now. I do love working with kids, but I do not like childcare. In fact, there are days where I have hated it.
I do not like the fact that the rooms/groups of children never seem to settle because there is a different group each day. That some children are there all day, 5 days per week, while others only attend for kinder session hours once per week, and try as you might to be a fair and conscientious educator, it is never possible to program for that once a week child in the same way as it is for the child you see for 8 hours every day.
My experience of long day care centres so far has also been one of frustration. Of there being enormous pressure and expectations placed upon the teacher, but not enough support/resources/planning time provided to ensure those expectations can be met. Instead, the inability to meet those expectations has resulted in general negativity and discouraging comments about ability to do the job. It’s like being told to build a house, and being given a bucket of sand to do it with.
Now, when I write blog posts I usually prefer to stick to the positives and keep this space rant free, however, my frustration has snowballed over the last 2 years of working in the industry and I feel it is necessary to just come out and say it. I work with kids, but I don’t like childcare. And that’s okay.
Call me elitist, but I just want to work in sessional kinder. But what I am finding is that long care centres are throwing jobs at me, while sessional kinder is remaining the awkward, silently disapproving individual sitting in the corner.
So, as I traverse my way through this existential crisis of working out what on earth it is i really want to do/should be doing/can do while not having a stable full time income i ask all of you wonderful bloggers out there who blog about early childhood and teaching (or anyone that just wants to say their piece) for advice. Have you ever gone through the same sort of crisis and what helped? Have you ever felt completely fed up with the industry? Will it just get better in time as I gain more experience? Should i throw it all in to become an alpaca farmer or a pearl diver or an accountant (god. no.) or something? Help!