Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I recently found an article though that explains to both, my frustrations about working in child care. There is an article titled When Compliments Fail to Flatter: American Individualism and Responses to Positive Stereotypes. It was written by John Oliver Siy and Sapna Cheryan. It discusses how a positive stereotype can seem negative because a judgment is being made on group membership rather than on an individuals traits and attributes. This made complete sense to me because what I've wanted for years is for someone to realize that I bring something to the field that others don't and place me in a position where I can use the traits and attributes I have and bring them to the field and help make the center I work at better. I have skills that others don't and where most people in the corporate world would get a promotion for such skills etc. the field of child care doesn't do it. I've only seen a person promoted once in the ten years that I've worked in the field.
Even though people tell me I'm good at my job and what I do and tell me that I'm good with children, my being good at my job has never gotten me earning over the poverty level or an administrator to take an interest in me and help me advance my career. It has never gotten me promoted or taken under administrations wing and taught how to be better and given the opportunity to learn how to make that next step in my career. If you work in any field but particularly the child care field and if you are administration to any company I recommend this article. You may see your employees differently and be in a better place to help them reach their career goals.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The other three co-workers I worked with who knew what professionalism is were at the second center I worked at. There was a lady who was the lead teacher of the toddler program there at that center, her co-teacher, and mine. We all understood who the lead teacher of the program was and we respected her, didn't try to step on her toes or over rule her. She knew what she was doing and you could easily see why she was the lead teacher. She would give suggestions when needed but never pulled rank. She worked side-by-side with us and I learned a lot from her.
These women didn't need to be trained, they didn't need someone standing over them telling them how to do their job, they never had anything to prove and they constantly proved that they knew what they were doing. When they called someone out on doing something that should have been dealt with differently they did it kindly. They gave suggestions not orders. This is how I have always tried to run my classroom as well-to give suggestions not orders. Lets try this, lets do it this way, what do you think we should do? Because of this the only people I've not gotten along with are the ones who come into the classroom with something to prove. Those co-workers who come in there and have to prove they have the knowledge they have and that they are just as smart as you. They start giving orders of what to change, why and how as soon as they walk in the room. They let you know that they disapprove of the way you do things yet my classroom has always been one that has never gotten complaints from the parents.
These four women knew how to talk to the parents and never crossed the line of giving out information to the parents they shouldn't have. They had professional relationships with the parents and like me kept their professional lives separate from their personal lives. These women made it worth going to work. Usually you go for the children not the co-workers because of all the drama the co-workers bring to work. These women didn't bring that and as a result going to work wasn't something I had to do but wanted to do. These women were a joy to work with and I enjoyed working with all of them. When you work with people who are professional it makes a big difference and the environment is completely different. It makes getting your job done easier. A professional environment can always be recognized and it starts at the administration level and works its way down.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
At the second center I worked at I was getting ready to have one of the children who was in my primary caregiver group move up. Each teacher in a classroom has primary children. They are the ones you diaper, speak to the parents, call parents when their sick etc. This particular child started in my room at ten months instead of 12. The center didn't see the point of putting her in infants for two months and then having another transition take place so they just started her in toddlers with me. This meant she had been with me for a year and two months when it came time for her to transition up to two's.
When the week came for her to transition she was doing well. However, the day during transition week that she was supposed to stay through nap time she was having a hard time. One of the teachers came and got me and asked me if I could help. I went in there and sat beside her mat and she was just crying. I spoke to her for a few minutes and got her to calm down and then sat with her until she started to drift. The next day when it came time to take her over to two's to visit she had a hard time. I had to pick her up and carry her into the room because she wouldn't walk over once she knew where we were going. When it came time to give her to the teacher she held onto me really tightly and wouldn't let go. I finally had to pry her off of me and leave the room. When I got back into my room I was trying to hold it together so I wouldn't start crying. When my co-teacher asked me if I was ok I just started crying. At that point the director had come in to give us some information and I left the room long enough to get it together. When I walked back into the room my co-teacher was laughing at me. I told her, "just wait until it's your turn and it's one of your children moving up." She said, "Nope won't happen to me. I don't get that emotional over my children."
She ate her words a few months later. She and one of the children that was in her primary group had a strong bond. When it came time for her to move up my co-teacher was valiant and strong. She would not cry she said. On Friday when she walked her over that morning to spend the day and be picked up there she was very brave. All day long she was quiet and I let her be. However, toward the end of the day I noticed she was standing by the wall, quiet and I saw her wipe her cheek.
I asked, "Are you crying?"
"Now I know how you feel Taryn and I will never make fun of you again when one of your primary kids move up and you cry."
I started laughing.
She said, "Don't you say a word and don't you tell the other teachers in the toddler program."
"I won't." I didn't either. This day will and who this co-teacher is will die with me. Sometimes you just have to cry.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
My question is- how does one go from cook to assistant director? The staff knew that the cook and the new director had been friends for years and the word around the center was that the director made the cook the assistant director because she felt sorry for her. I don't know if that's true or not, I just know it was a personal decision not a professional one if it is true. I also know that to allow things that have happened to you in your personal life affect these kind of professional decisions is unprofessional. I could also be wrong but this may not be the best way to gain the respect of your staff either.
I have worked for administration that shows favoritism towards staff and who don't have the respect of their staff. I could be wrong but if you're going to work on the administration side of a company don't you want the respect of your staff?The new director wanted me to stay when I put in my two weeks notice a short time after that but I knew I couldn't work for someone that made professional decisions based on personal feelings not professional qualifications etc. I was also tired of working for someone I didn't respect. I like many others I'm sure have worked for and with people that I liked as a person but didn't respect on a professional level.
To start off as a new director by making a decision such as who would be the assistant director based on a personal friendship didn't leave me feeling like this director was going to be someone I wanted to work under. Despite the fact that I work with children all day professionalism should still be tried to obtain. Let me sit in the directors office, cry, and tell a sob story so that I can get an administrative position doesn't exactly gain a person's confidence that you'll do a good job and be fair and treat your staff fairly. This is something that a lot of directors don't understand and why they aren't respected.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
At the second center I worked at I had a little girl who when she was teething she teethed quicker than any child I have ever taken care of. When she was teething she would point to the cabinet I kept them in and say, "bite." I would give her one and she would bite it to relieve the pain of the tooth coming in. As she would sit and bite it she would moan and groan. It made me feel so bad because giving her the teether to bite on was all I was allowed to do. If the parents brought in orajel and filled out a form to give it to her I could do that but the parents chose not to do that so all I could do was give her the teether. This little girl would chew on it every day all week long until the tooth came in. As a result every day she would ask for the teether and moan and groan as it came in. I eventually gave her the same teether everyday and one day at the end of the day I noticed it had a hole in it. Instead of sanitizing it I threw it out.
I have never seen someone teeth as fast as this little girl. It was crazy. She was irritable the whole time the tooth was coming in. Once it came in though she would be happy until the next one started to come in and we'd go through the whole process again.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Sometimes he would start to cry before he even got to the room. I could hear him crying as he walked down the hallway to the room. Most of the time there will be periods when a child will stop crying- to eat, sleep, or sometimes to even play while they sit on your lap or at least close by. Not this little boy. He cried all day, every day, non-stop!! I tried everything I could think of and then some. This boy was the hardest child I have ever had! I sang songs, I turned music on-soft then upbeat, had the parents bring in a special toy of the child's, I asked them what he liked to do at home, I mean you name it and I tried it. After a month of trying everything I could think of and none of it working I was about to suggest to the parents that they try a nanny. A formal child care setting like that isn't for everyone and it doesn't work for every family. So ...after working with the family for a month, talking to the director, we had decided to suggest to the family that they start to look at other options.
Then one day....he stopped! He just stopped! I don't even know why!?! During nap I had opened the door in the classroom that led directly out to the playground and sat there with him like I did every day to make it quieter while the others slept so that his crying didn't keep the rest of the children awake. I took his pacifier and put it on my lap because he was crying regardless of whether it was in his mouth or not. I didn't say anything to him I just took it and put it on my lap. He continued to cry and I picked up a bucket and shovel and started to fill it with sand. A few minutes later he stopped crying. I peeked out of the corner of my eye to make sure he was ok and saw that he was sitting there watching me and being quiet. I continued to fill the bucket and made a sand castle. I did this 3-4 times then I took him inside and closed the door.
I took him to his mat and sat him on it then sat beside him. He continued to be quiet so I decided to push my luck. This little boy went all day long without eating because he cried all day long. It broke my heart but I couldn't force him to eat. So I went to the kitchen and got some leftovers from lunch. I took it back to the classroom and sat him at the table and sat next to him. I pointed to everything on the plate and told him what it was, said, "here's a spoon," then looked away. A few minutes later he picked the spoon up and started to eat. I looked at him and smiled then said, "Is it good? I thought you might be hungry." He looked at me like a deer in headlights and started crying. I said, "Ok I won't look at you," and looked away and continued to watch him from the corner of my eye. I then looked at my co-teacher and pointed. She smiled and nodded then said, "Don't do it." (I had tears in my eyes). After he ate (everything on his plate) I took him back over to his mat and laid him down on it and rubbed his back. Pretty soon he was fast asleep.
I went over to where my co-teacher was sitting and sat down next year. I said, "Co-teacher, did you see that? He finally ate and look he's asleep." She nodded and I burst into tears-I mean I literally burst into tears! After a month of this little boy doing nothing but cry- he wouldn't sleep, he wouldn't eat, he wouldn't do anything but cry- he finally ate and slept!! My co-teacher finally said, "I told you we would love it out of him." That was like the understatement of the year!!
When he woke up he ate snack with everyone, and he played all afternoon. He stayed close by and I watched him out of the corner of my eye, but he played all afternoon. That afternoon when his parents came to pick him up instead of telling his parents they may want to consider other options I told them about him eating, sleeping and his afternoon. They too burst into tears. After that he never cried again unless he got hurt. He eventually started to test the limits some. He would go farther and farther away from me to play instead of staying close. One day while on the playground he went to the other side of the playground then stood there until I saw him. I waved and smiled then said, "I see you. Are you having fun?" He smiled then turned and ran off. I looked at my co-teacher smiled then wiped the tears that again started to flow.
Once this little boy stopped crying all day he was so sweet!! He also was so funny! His personality started coming out little by little. It started with quiet moments when I would be putting him down for nap or he'd come up and show me something and say something quietly to me, then go play again. Every so often he would come over hug me then go play. I have never had a child take that long to adjust before or since. When he moved up to the next room I cried harder than I have with any other child who ever moved up. The bond I had with this little boy was different from any bond I've ever had with any other child. This little boy changed my life-frustrations and all.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
When a child brings me a container of crayons to open, or their jacket I always say, "help me, help me," then I open the container or put the jacket on or whatever the situation is that causes a child to need help. I had one little boy who every time he wanted a particular toy that was hanging on a hook, he would go over to it, put his hand on it, wave and move it around and scream. My co-teacher and I would always go over to him and say, "say help me or help please," then get the toy for him. One day his dad came in to drop him off and asked me if we had taught him to say 'help.' I explained to him what he did with the toy and how we would encourage him to say 'help.' The dad said thank you and told me how the child had been saying it at home and how it made things a lot easier.
For some reason as we get older we stop asking for help whether it be because of pride, we're taught not to ask for it or our need to be independent. However, I believe it's always all right to ask for help. There will always be times when we need help because there will always be things that take more than one person to do or more explanation is needed in order to understand something. My own child as she has gone through school has had teachers who get mad if help is asked for. They seem to have somewhere along the way forgotten about the teach part of teacher and that asking for help is part of a child's job in order to learn. I have always taught the children that I work with to say 'help me,' or 'help please,' because I think this is a self-help skill that will help children accomplish many things in life and one that is important that they have.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
(fill in the blank.)
This co-worker hardly ever took a day off because "her room would fall apart without her." She would always talk loudly about how if she ever left, the administration wouldn't know what to do and how they were always asking her to stay, yet constantly declared how she was going to go work for the public school system and how much better it was.
One day her arrogance caught up with her. A substitute came to work in the classroom that was the age group just above the one she taught. She had two little children that came with her, one of which was placed in this co-workers room. In her need to control things and prove what a 'good' teacher she was she reached out grabbing this child by the arm and leaving a bruise and it also popped out of place. The substitute left the center early that day and took her child to the ER. Then lets just say the building continued to stand.
FYI- Everyone is replaceable!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I put the blanket on the other child then took her to her cot and laid her down on it and patted her to sleep.
When she was asleep I got up to help clean up lunch. I was still in shock that she had told me 'no' and looked at my co-teacher and said, "I can't believe she just told me 'no'. I didn't know whether to get mad at her or how to react to it."
co-teacher- "I know. You should have seen your face." She started laughing again.
me- "Co-teacher she told me 'no'!"
co-teacher nodded and laughed. This made me finally start to laugh because on a certain level, it was funny.
I've worked with people who don't think it's appropriate for a child to tell them 'no' and some have even gotten in the child's face and told them not to tell them 'no'. "You don't tell your teacher 'no," they say. I on the other hand think it's ok for a child to tell an adult 'no.' Not all the time, but in certain situations I think it's ok for a child to tell an adult 'no.' I think it's the most important word in anybody's vocabulary but particularly a child's. Adult's will tell children to do things that are wrong and we all know adults do things to children that are wrong and it's ok to tell them 'no' and I think children need to be taught when it's appropriate to tell an adult 'no.'
Many disagree with me, but it is my opinion that in certain situations it's ok for a child to say 'no.' I think children should be listened to and it bothers me when adults think dealing with children is all about 'I'm the adult and your the child, so you have to do what I say,' because it's not. People who think this is what dealing with children means don't know what it means to deal with children (in my opinion.) Children should be listened to and respected because respect is a two-way street, not a one-way that leads from children to adults.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
While awake she also would never talk a lot. However, every day at nap time she would babble. I would sit or lay beside her cot to pat her to sleep and she would just start talking about all kinds of things. It went from babbling to talking as she started to actually talk and use words to communicate. I used to say to her, "Shh, tell me later sweetheart, it's time to go night, night."
Eventually I just would sit or lay by her cot and let her talk until she fell asleep because it was the only time she ever talked and it became a time for us to connect with one another. It was also when her personality would come out and she was so funny! To sit and listen to all of the things she had observed all morning long would just make me laugh.
She was one of the sweetest children I've ever taken care of and she is certainly the easiest. I got so used to her sitting quietly in an area of the room playing that when she moved up to the next room I had to remind myself that she had moved up because I had gotten so used to her quiet presence.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The week following these, I had a teacher from the classroom next to us open our door and ask if we had a gray marker. I was cleaning the tables after snack and stopped and stood up. I just stood there for a minute thinking because I couldn't remember where we had put them. I remembered seeing them and I remember putting them in a different spot but I couldn't remember where. My co-teacher was having a prep time so I couldn't ask her where we had put them.
After I stood there for a minute this co-worker said, "Do you understand what I'm asking?"
I nodded and said, "Yes, I understand what you're asking co-worker I'm just trying to remember where we put them. We just got done rearranging a lot of things in the room and I can't remember where we put them. Let me finish cleaning the tables and I'll look for them."
As I finished cleaning the tables I'm thinking 'where did we put those'? By the time I was done cleaning the tables I had remembered where we put them and got the gray marker and took it to her.
FYI- just because someone has to stop and think about a question doesn't mean they don't understand it and I could be wrong but insulting the intelligence of your co-workers isn't going to get you respected as a fellow co-worker.
Tip- To insult a co-workers intelligence is unprofessional!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
In order to get her out to the playground I had to put her in a wagon and pull her. One day we were getting ready to go outside when the little boy who moved up with this little girl came over and put his hand on the wagon. As the others started to go out the door I said, "ok, name of child, go follow the co-teacher."
He just looked at me like are you kidding. I tried to prod him along.
"Go follow co-teacher sweetheart."
He looked at me, shook his head no and had a determined look on his face. I thought all right and started across the room. He let go of the wagon in order to get out the door, however, as soon as I was out the door he took hold of the wagon again and walked all the way out to the playground holding onto the wagon. He was determined to stay with this little girl-his friend.
When we got to the playground I set a blanket out on the playground then took this little girl and sat her on it. As I did that this little boy went and got her some toys and brought them to her so she'd have something to play with. He wouldn't play until she was on the blanket with toys to play with. He learned which ones were her favorite and would bring them to her if no one else was playing with them. For part of the time outside he'd come and sit on the blanket with her, part of it he'd go off and play. Either way he stayed close by and took care of her.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
The week of transitioning for the little boy I've been talking about in my previous posts came. Each day I'd walk him to the classroom and welcome him back as he returned. At the end of the week on Friday I walked him to his new classroom, then returned to mine. At nap time after the children were asleep and lunch had been cleaned up I went to take the rest of the diapers, sunscreen and other belongings of this little boy to his new room. As I closed the door and started to return to my room I started to cry. I had had this little boy since he was ten months old and the first few months in my room from 5:30 until 6 it was often just him and me because everyone else had been picked up and he wasn't picked up until 6. This one on one time with a child in this kind of setting is rare and we developed a strong bond due to the half hour we spent together every day. We played with toys, took walks, and he helped me close the room every day.
A few months after he had moved up I was on the playground that we shared with the older toddler room. This little boy was being held by a teacher and I asked another teacher in that room if he was ok. She told me they had just gotten back from being gone for two weeks.
"Ah, readjusting uh?" I said.
A few minutes later the teacher holding this little boy came over to me and said, "I think he wants you, he keeps pointing at you."
He practically jumped into my arms- I almost didn't catch him. He put his head on my shoulder and started to pat my back so I started to rub his and talk softly to him about he and his family being on vacation. After a few minutes I put him down in the sand box and sat beside him. He sat there playing quietly. When it got time for me to take my class inside I started to clean up and get my children to the gate so we could go in. When he saw me doing this he went over to the gate and stood by it. Instead of trying to get him to stay and go in with his own class I let him go in with ours. As I put a toy away I told the teacher I had him and I'd bring him down to their classroom in a minute. I took my class in, washed everyone's hands including his then we walked down the hall to his room. I opened the door and told him I'd see him later and he walked right in and was fine. Every day for about two weeks when I got outside he'd come sit beside me and play then go in with me and then I'd take him to his room. One day as I started to clean up and get everyone to the gate he didn't follow. As I got ready to go in I checked on him, saw he was playing quietly and went in. He was all right from then on. I guess some bonds just don't break.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The little boy I spoke of in my last post, as he grew and started to walk he started to slim some but he was still a big boy. He had broad shoulders and the build of a football player. At the same time he was in my class I also had a girl who was as tiny as he was big. She had been born premature and was a tiny little thing. This little boy recognized that she was smaller than everyone else and watched out for her.One day I was washing my hands after changing a diaper when I heard someone screaming. I looked over my shoulder and saw that it was this little girl. The two boys playing in the same area she was had taken her toys from her. I threw away the paper towel and started across the room. When I got to the halfway point this little boy crossed my path and it looked like he was going to the same place I was, so I stopped to see where he was going. He went over there, yanked the toys from them, fussed at them (babbled, he was using very many actual words yet), placed the toys gently in her lap then spoke to her. She nodded her head and wiped her eyes and he walked away. He again crossed my path as he went back across the room, then looked at me and nodded as if to say, "Don't worry about it, I took care of it." I said, "Thanks child's name." I look at my co-teacher and smile- we chuckle.
A few minutes later I'm again washing my hands after changing a diaper when I see these boys take her toys from her again and she screams. I once again head over to her and again this little boy crosses my path so I stop again to see what he's going to do. When the two boys see him coming they chuck the toys at the girl and run to the other side of the room (I smile and laugh). He walks over to the little girl, puts his hand on her shoulder and "talks" to her. She again nods and wipes her tears. He sits down in the same area as her and starts to play. I look at my co-teacher and we start to laugh. She says, "So cute!" No one messed with her the rest of the day.
Monday, August 5, 2013
At the first center I worked at there was a little boy who moved up from the infant room at 10 months old into my room. He was a big boy and they were worried he would hurt the babies that were 2, 3 months old so they moved him up. In the classroom I was working in, it had one of those beds that look like a car in it for the children to play in.
One day I did a head check and realized I was missing someone. I realized it was this little boy and my co-teacher and I started looking everywhere in the room for him. We were looking behind toy shelves in case he was behind one, we looked behind the changing table which was tall enough to hide the children if they went behind it, we were looking everywhere for him. When I turned around from looking behind a shelf I spotted him in this bed fast asleep. Relief swept through us both.
The next day I again did a head check and couldn't find this little boy so my eyes immediately went to the bed to see if he was there, which he was. Once again he was laying in the car bed fast asleep. I checked the time and noticed it was 5pm. The next day the same thing; I did a head check couldn't see him, looked in the car, found him asleep, looked at the time and sure enough it was 5 o'clock. Some days I would see him crawl into the bed and look at the clock. Yup! It's 5 o'clock. He would sleep for about a half hour then be ready to play for the last half hour as he was always picked up at 6pm.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
I started babysitting when I was twelve years old. Every summer during my teen years I had a babysitting job. After I graduated from high school I worked at the local YMCA taking care of members children while they worked out. This room was open from 8:30 to 12:30 every morning. When I got pregnant with my daughter I started to take care of a child in my home and eventually two. When my daughter turned three I went from taking care of children in my home to working in a child care center. Since then I've worked in two other centers and taken care of countless children. As you can see I've always worked with children. I've created this blog to share some of the experiences and things I've learned while working in Early Childhood Education. This blog will be more of a professional blog than a personal one and the only person's name I will use is my own.
For reference: When speaking about anyone but myself I will use co-teacher to mean a teacher that worked in the classroom with me. I will use co-worker for reference to anyone who worked in the center with me, director and assistant director-these two may also be referred to as administration, and parents. When I refer to any children I've worked with they will be referred to as child, children, boy or girl.