I have worked as an early childhood professional for many years, and it has been a wonderful, fulfilling experience. When I stepped into my first classroom, I did not have the faintest idea of how to work with a group of children. Fortunately, things fell into place and I loved my job. I could not believe that I was getting paid for something I truly enjoyed doing—having fun with young children.
Secondly, I have never regretted choosing early childhood day care and education as my career path. There are two poems that capture the essence of what I do. One is entitled “With Apologies to None,” which I often recite during the workshops I present to early childhood professionals. In particular, I love the line that begins, “Where else could my mind stay so young as with a group whose attention span is so short….” But the poem I include below says it the best:
I teach because there is great fulfillment
that comes from working with girls and boys,
I teach because I wanted to be a sculptor,
and I can do so, by shaping lives for the future.
I teach because I wanted to be an artist,
and I can do so, by painting dreams for children.
I teach because I wanted to be a musician,
and I can do so, in giving inspiration to children.
I teach because I wanted to be a historian,
and I can in having recorded something for the lives of great men to come.
I teach because I wanted to be a poet,
and I can in writing impressive passages of mankind.
I teach because of the reward I receive when a child’s frowns turn to smiles,
or when he/she says, “Now, I understand.”
I teach because of the personal growth I receive each day as I venture out in the quest for knowledge and techniques to help my students understand.
I teach for it is in this where I can see the worthwhile
and true fulfillment of living.
The point of this poem is that you have a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives in the profession of child day care and early childhood education. In order to work effectively with children, the early childhood teacher needs deeper understanding to help the children in your care thrive with the benefits of a quality program.