You’ve done it. You’ve passed all the necessary requirements and have all the credentials to be a preschool teacher. But what now? Where do you go from here? Here are 4 tips for preparing to become a preschool teacher.
Expect the Unexpected
Truly, anything can happen in the classroom. Get ready for kids to have meltdowns, to cry, to throw up, to tell you way too much information about their personal lives. Preschool kids have no filter, and do not yet have the skills to regulate emotions. Therefore, it’s important to be patient, kind, and understanding, even when you feel like screaming. These children truly don’t know better, and it’s important that you’re there to extend compassion and structure during their developmental years. Your actions will affect their understanding of the world for the rest of their lives–therefore, it’s important to be empathetic, and stern if need be. You’re preparing them with skills for the future.
Get Employed at a Reputable School
You don’t want to work at just any preschool. It’s important that you work at one that aligns with your personal values, and that will offer you all the tools you need to succeed. Work in a classroom where you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, and what kind of people you will be working with. What kind of students do you want to engage with? Make sure you find a reputable school, like Winwood Children’s Center that you know, will prepare you for the kind of environment you want to be engaged in the majority of your day.
Be Ready to Improvise
Sometimes, you’ll spend hours prepping your lesson plan. However, things don’t always go the way you expect them to. You can have something happen–a change in the overall school plan, a missing kid, etc., that causes you to alter your perfectly-prepped lesson. That’s okay. That’s life. Be ready to improvise. See if you can make changes on the spot, and what you can do to make sure your kids are along for the ride. Let the kids know if changes are going to be made–they’ll ask fewer questions later. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and go ahead with your judgment, and choose what you think will be best for that moment.
Don’t Be Their Friend
While it’s important you are caring and compassionate with your students, it’s important that you remain their teacher and not their friend. That means when they’re acting unruly or do not meet the clear expectations you have set for them, provide them with the proper disciplinary actions. This does not need to be cold–combine this with compassion for the most effective. Children thrive and crave structure. It might be tempting to try and be their friend, but it’s important that you remain an authority figure to best set a precedent for their experience in the education system for the next decade-plus years of their lives.
These are just a few tips that can help you when you are preparing to become a preschool teacher. Utilize these simple tidbits of wisdom, and you will be more prepared for educating and operating your preschool classroom in a productive way that aligns with your values.