Friday, August 25, 2017

Do you want to be a preschool teacher?



The recent much controversial talk about the preschool sector really intrigues me. Don't misunderstand me, I am very proud to be a preschool teacher but yet also we know that this is a very tough job. But no one really know the underside of being a preschool educator thus I hope to shred some light from my experience on it. Maybe this will help you understand why an average of 5000 teachers will leave this post after their 5 years of work.

And first in my disclaimer, I would like to shout out loud that in this particular post, please understand that I DO NOT represent any of the companies/schools that I work for and all views and opinions are mine.

It took me a long while before I decided to be a preschool educator but do you know it really takes many to be a preschool teacher? Just a normal preschool teacher ok. Here is a post on how you can be one.. if you ever want to.. but of course a big welcome to you if you are hoping on the wagon.

Qualifications

A diploma in Early Childhood -Teaching (DPT)  is recommended but you can also be trained in Certificate in Early Childhood or Certificate in Early Years. But of course not only these, if you were lucky to score a B3 in your O level, you will probably get a L2 certification from ECDA. If not, you will be required to apply to take an IELTS exams to prove that your English is still up to mark then upon passing with a min of a 6.5 grade, your school will then apply with ECDA for your L2 certification. Else you will just be slapped with a L1 certification meaning you are only qualified to teach preschoolers until 4 years old. So please be proud of your child's preschool teacher who teaches in the K1/2 levels. It takes alot to be one. And I meant ALOT. Of course if your child's teacher has a higher qualification than just a Diploma, please give them a pat on their shoulders as each part time Diploma or Advance Diploma requires a min of 2.5 to 3 years to complete and a degree requires a min of 3 - 4 years to complete. And this really make me look up to those with a Master in Education. 

Another "qualification" that you are required to have would be a Certification in First Aid for Infant and Toddlers. This could be a 24 hours training that every preschool teacher is required to take and this piece of paper expires every 2 years. You hear it right.. every 2 years you would have to breath air into that mannequin to inflate the chest. *pant pant* Did I also mention we usually have to burn 3 of our weekends just to attend this class on a bi-yearly basis.

There are also some new regulations to ensure that all preschool teacher has to be kept abreast of new techniques and strategies for teaching so we are required to attend an average of 30-40 hours of training (be it curriculum or soft skills) every year. Yes we do get away with work for a break. But most of the time, we do have to submit an assignment at the end of the training that we do. And no, I don't enjoy the airconditioning for 8 hours straight.

Job responsibilities

To be honest, I think we do slightly better than Primary School teachers in a sense as curriculum teaching covers about 50% of the job. So if you think that we are "free" during our children's nap time, we also do curriculum plans for the term, lesson plans, organize fieldtrips, prepare teaching aids, pasting notices in communication books, update school app, attend meetings (for concert, carnival, sports days etc etc). 

Other than these, we are also responsible for our children's every inch that enters the school. From mosquito bites to fever management to medicine administration to missing underwear to remembering the 1001 enrichment class that our children attends inside and outside class. We even have to answer if children decides to drink less water for the day.. or just decided not to poop, we just have to answer for it. 

And as a senior teacher, I also have to manage a group of teachers and also handle parents' feedback in all aspects. So I do more meetings and some in house training during the children's nap time.

Managing children

As a rule of thumb, let me share with you some (impossible to do all) examples of what a preschool teacher should do.

Here are what we discourage:
NO corporate punishments like pulling the ears or face the wall
NO physical punishments like hitting the hand or backside
NO degrading of the children such as calling the child stupid or idiot or insulting children
NO deprivation of basic needs such as don't give water or food just because the child misbehaves

Here are what we encourage:
Yes to negotiation - talk to the child if the child misbehave 
Yes to time out - eg 2 minute of time out on a chair for a 2 year old child etc
Yes to positive reinforcement such as "I am so glad you helped me clear up the mess"
Yes to updating parents if child decides not to eat; so we usually will try to offer something else.

Attire

I always gets very upset to mention this but apparently I left one of the prestigious school because of attire issue. They require me to wear smart casual to work and the senior teacher told me off for wearing a A line skirt to work on a Monday. Perhaps she could see my flag, perhaps it was too short, perhaps. Anyway I left after 6 weeks of work.

To be honest, if your school provides a uniform, maybe you are lucky. For some schools, not wearing uniform also might mean you cannot wear jeans from Monday to Friday, no skirts above knee, no decorative t shirt, no culottes, no shorts etc etc.

Well.. "I just want to be in a comfortable attire!"

To close this entry, I can only say that the status of the preschool teachers is going up a higher notch. But question is... how fast will this be?

And..

DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE A PRESCHOOL TEACHER?
Now let me sit back and relax while I chomp on my supper with a cuppa of tea.


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