I can’t even remember all the times I’ve been asked the question: “Why would you want to be a teacher?” I hear all about how little teachers are paid, and how people “just don’t know how you do it.” I have had people treat me like they don’t really think preschool teachers are teachers, rather, over-paid babysitters. I wrote a blog post on it once, so did my friend, Kristi Sauer.
I’ve written about why preschool is important. What I haven’t written about, was why I choose to be a preschool teacher, or more like, why I stay a preschool teacher. It doesn’t pay great, especially if you are working in a child care setting. Working for a school district pays significantly better, but still doesn’t offer some of the benefits that “regular” teachers get (such as health care, pay stretched out over the summer, etc.).
Those things don’t matter so much to me. Yes, this has led to some huge financial struggles over the years, but to me, doing what I love is more important. There have been a couple of amazing opportunities over the years that I have passed up on. The pay on said positions was much higher, but they weren’t teaching jobs. A Director position wasn’t hands on enough for me…
My passion is to teach young children. The highlights of my days at work are when I see a child’s eyes light up when they learn/try something new. When they suddenly are able to make the letters in their name, or do something they weren’t previously able to do, I get as excited as they do. When a class full of 4-5 year olds suddenly takes an interest in letters, words, rhyming, and trying to read, it makes every day worth it. When my preschoolers are lined up waiting to come into class, and then run in and give me a hug, it warms my heart.
Not every day is easy. There are days that my patience is tested to the limit. There are days that I come home from work, and I don’t want to talk to anyone. But, most days, I come home as exhilarated as I am exhausted. Although there are a ton of things that I enjoy doing outside of work, none of them are quite as fulfilling as teaching those little ones who soak up everything I can give them!