Today, I was the parent helper at my daughter’s preschool. I love the school, and her teachers are terrific. Today one of the teachers was absent, there was a full moon, and I don’t know what other factors were in play. The teacher there handled all of the meltdowns from the ten three to four year old children with a calm, caring demeanor.
Having worked in elementary schools most of my professional career, I have developed a healthy respect for the teachers who work with the youngest children. I taught a combined first and second grade class one year, and I took two years off of teaching after that experience. The constant energy, not to mention the constant flow of bodily fluids, that comes with the territory is daunting to me.
As a teacher there have always been the jokers who claim teachers are paid just fine. “You get June, July, and August off. Just work a summer job,” is a common jibe. I let them know that in the ten, not nine, months that I am at school, I work more hours than they will ever do in a twelve month job. The teachers of young children put more energy into their job than I ever will, and they earn a pittance. Early childhood educators are grossly underpaid for the amazing work they do.
Now that my daughter is in their care, my sincere and profound respect for the work they do is renewed and redoubled.