When my friend told her parents that she wanted to be a teacher, they nodded hesitatingly, a little saddened perhaps that she did not want to be an engineer or a doctor. When she further told them that she wanted to teach kindergarten or elementary school, they laughed out loud. ‘You want to teach A for apple, B for ball?’ they asked. My friend was adamant in pursuing her passion, and now she’s a successful teacher, teaching the third grade and has been at it for 5 years.
Even though most people are warming up to ‘unusual jobs’ nowadays, (and by unusual I mean not an engineer or a doctor) some jobs are still considered to be below a certain standard, a standard that was set by God knows whom. A kindergarten teacher is one of those jobs where you are looked down upon. It is also widely believed that a teaching profession is valuable only if it’s as a professor in a college. True, a job at an elementary school is not all that lucrative, but it is just as valuable.
So how does one become a kindergarten teacher? Get a Bachelor’s degree. Sounds very easy, doesn’t it? However, the job itself isn’t. Teaching a class of small kids requires much more than a degree. It requires patience, concentration, and love for the children. Most of all, we have to be aware that we hold in our hands the ability to change the child. Children are at their learning best at this age and want someone to look up to. It is at this stage that a child is taught what is right and what is wrong. All this lies with the teacher, and this is why it’s important that they need to be aware that they can mould an intelligent, kind and brave person from a little child.
“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” -Jim Henson
I still remember my kindergarten teacher. I have no idea what she taught, but I still remember her kind face, the way her eyes twinkled when she spoke to any of us. Most of all, I remember how we all wanted to be as kind, generous and patient as her. This is the effect that teachers have on their students. They are not merely people who teach subjects, they’re people-makers. Along with parents, they’re responsible for making upstanding citizens of our country. When we know that kids are looking up to us, we too strive to be a better person. A truly great teacher is not one who merely teaches or explains, a truly great teacher is one who inspires.
As to people who say that it’s not a rewarding job, I’d say there are much greater rewards than money. When you are walking on the road 20 years from now, and a young girl comes up to you, recognizes you and maybe asks how you have been doing the past 20 years, I think that is a reward in itself.