In the January/February 1991 issue of Child Care Information Exchange, it’s editor, Roger Neugebauer, wrote and published the article “12 Reasons People Love to Work for You.” In it, Neugebauer focuses on the practices of directors at childcare centers where teacher turnover is low. Based on his observations, he determined twelve practices you can implement to motivate people to remain in your employment.
Reason #11 You cultivate professional pride.
We in early education seem to face an interesting paradox regarding our profession. It seems to me that in our country we place the highest value or esteem upon the teacher who’s students are the olderest – college professors. And as the age of the student declines – high school, middle school, elementary, preschool, infant/toddlers, we place less and less value on the education and thus the educator. But in actuality 70% of what we all know as adults we learned before the fourth grade and the majority of that knowledge and skill we learned before age four thus making the education of the 0-3 potentially the most significant in the learning process.
Respect from others for our work cannot be realized until we respect ourselves and display profession pride for the essential work we do. In addition to providing a stimulating and nurturing start for thousands of Arkansas children we are an essential component to the economy of our state. Early education not only employees a large number of professionals but our services enable thousands of parents to go to work every day making it possible for them to provide for their families and contribute to a healthier economy as a whole.
Modeling by example is the most powerful tool to influence others. If we wanted to be treated as professional we must be professional. We dress professionally, we speak professionally and most important when we are asked about our profession we reply with head high, looking them straight in the eyes with a response something like “I have the most important job there is – I assist young children meet their full potential – I am an early educator.”