Monday Memos: A special memo for a teacher

A teacher who read a preview of Monday Memo told me she wished the book was already published and that her director had the chance to read it. Her concern what that since she was “only a teacher”, she wasn’t able to make real change in her school.

Hogwash.

This memo is for you.

Dear Teacher,

You are one of the most important pieces of the preschool puzzle. You are the one responsible for keeping a schedule, maintaining order, scaffolding learning and setting the tone of your classroom. You are the front line when it comes to the parents. If it weren’t for you, the directors would be giving tours of an empty school.

All of us deserve to work in a place that respects children and gives them the absolute best early childhood experience. If you feel your program needs some work, don’t back down or give up.

You have the right to work in an environment that reflects joy and learning.

You have the right to professional development that is specifically geared to you and your needs as a teacher.

You have the right to be seen as a competent teacher who is capable of making the right decisions for her students.

You have the right to have co-workers who are professional, collaborative and equally passionate about early childhood education.

However, before your fight, understand that with those rights come responsibilities. Before you point your finger at your director, take a moment and look at yourself.

You also have responsibilities.

You have the responsibility of making your classroom a space that reflects joy and learning.

You have the responsibility of teaching children according to their individual needs.

You have the responsibility of seeing your children as competent and capable of making choices about their interests.

You have the responsibility to seek professional development to help you become a teacher who can deliver numbers 1-3.

You have the responsibility to be a co-worker who is professional, collaborative and equally passionate about early childhood education.

You should have a vision of excellent early childhood education.  (If you don’t, email me. You can borrow mine until you create your own.)

Decide now to create the best possible classroom you can. Read everything you can, find like-minded people, ask questions, go to conferences, join ECE lists serves, but don’t, under any circumstance, allow yourself to do less than what you know is right for children just because your director isn’t up to speed yet.

Decide now that you don’t need all new materials, better carpets, sleeker furniture and smart boards before you can have a wonderful program.

Decide now to avoid excuses like “I can’t do this until my coworkers do.” Stop waiting for others to do what’s right for children.

Decide now to become an excellent teacher. We are counting on you. 

With utmost respect,

DJ Schneider Jensen