“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a teacher.”
“Cool, what age do you teach?”
“They are two.”
“Oh, so, you aren’t a real teacher.”
Oxford dictionary defines the word teach to ” impart knowledge or to instruct.” I’m pretty positive that doesn’t have an age range. Why is it when I tell someone I teach two year olds, all of a sudden I’m not a “real” teacher? I’ve been told I’m not actually teaching the kids anything, I’m not smart enough to be a teacher, I’m a glorified babysitter, isn’t it just fun and games? All of these things I have issue with, why is there some kind of misconception that if you aren’t teaching the kids how to read and write, then you aren’t actually a teacher?
Yes, in case you were wondering, I do teach these two year olds things. The things I teach them are things they will remember for the rest of their life, even though they will have no memory of the person who taught it to them and will probably assume they just always knew how to do it. In other words, basic motor skills. The fact that they know their colors, shapes, and alphabet, are thanks to a preschool teacher. They fact that they no longer bite their friends when they are frustrated and they recognize their name when it is written down, is because someone worked with them. I could go as far as saying the reason they don’t pee in their pants anymore, is because of a preschool teacher. Yes, parents are also a huge part of the learning process, I’m not trying to belittle that, but in some situations the kids are with their teachers more than their parents during the week. I’ve always been blessed to have amazing parents in and outside of the classroom. When both the teacher and the parents talk, work together, and figure out what works best for the child, at any age, that is when the child will truly excel.
Teaching is one of those professions I honestly believe has nothing to do with how smart you are. For starters, it’s preschool, I have an associates degree, I don’t need to be a genius. When the students are older, If you are unsure of something you need to teach your kids, you teach yourself or find someone to teach you before you talk about it with your students. This is what I would do when I had elementary aged students in the summer and I was unsure of how to teach something. I have had professors in college that are some of the smartest human beings I have ever met, and I never want to take a class they teach ever again. I’m not doubting my PHD professor, but if a teacher can’t bring things down to the level of a student and make things interesting, the students aren’t going to learn anything, that goes for any age group. Teaching is about what you bring to the students in a way they find interesting. Obviously, when they are two, it has a lot more to do with dancing and singing, and being an all around silly individual.
I am not a glorified babysitter, I spend a great deal of time lesson planning and finding activities that a two year old can learn from, unlike the teenager that may watch your kids on occasion. A lot of preschool teaching can be fun and games, at that age it’s the easiest way for them to be engaged. That’s not all it is though. I still have to put students in time-out, explain to them why they are in trouble, deal with screaming, crying, snotty, and sometimes obnoxious kids all day. It can be a handful and incredibly exhausting. Just picture, eight little two years, running around, all wanting something from you, they can’t all get it. What happens when they don’t get it? They get upset, and it is my job to take care of that, while still taking care of my other seven students.
I love working with preschool aged children, there is nothing like the unconditional love you receive from them. Just keep in mind, just because I’m not teaching math and science, doesn’t mean I’m not teaching the children things that are just as important.
2 Replies to “Not a Real Teacher”
As a German Grammar School teacher I understand what you mean! The first couple of years are so important for a child’s development. Everything it will achieve depends on that time! We can see the difference in the secondary school system.
In Germany you do not even go to college to work as a preschool teacher and the payment is so bad!
We underestimate the job you do so much. And as you say, many women do not want to stay a home until our children are 18, myself included so many children spenden a Lot of time with their preschool teachers. We are so well educated and I wish for my children to be taken care of at this important age by a well educated, dedicated, creative and true woman like you Susannah! I would not think twice if I had the chance to leave my two-year-old with you!
Sorry if this sounds a little dramatic but you spoke right from my heart!
Thank you! I appreciate it! It’s nice to hear that you, as a grammar school teacher, understands. I’ve had an elementary teacher tell me what I do is not teaching, so it’s nice to hear that not all teachers think that way!