Updated: Mar 15
Today I was idly scrolling to find some new reads about this educational leadership when I stumbled upon this article titled "Why I quit being a lawyer," written by a former lawyer.
Of course, I am no stranger to people quitting jobs and deciding to pursue something else; during the pandemic, even "the essential" childcare providers were leaving because of the pandemic stress, teacher shortage that led to grueling hours that never seemed to end, and for many other reasons.
Long story short, the article was so detailed and interesting to read, with some touching facts. But all I could comment after finishing it was, "wow, I can't help but respect that decision! Why can't you cross over to one of the most rewarding jobs, a job filled with joy, love, and affection- Early Childhood Professional."
As an experienced Early Childhood Professional & a mentor for over 20 years, I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: Early Childhood work is a rewarding and meaningful profession like no other you'll ever find! This job involves shaping and molding your "tiny humans" into future leaders. It's about loving them unconditionally as if they were your own. It is also an art you can play with and make mistakes without fear of judgment or reprimand.
For an unknown reason, I'm lucky to be one of the few who can say that my profession, Early Childhood Profession, is an expressive part of my life, and it drives me daily. I loved waking up, entering the classroom, and seeing the universe through the eyes of young children. "Teacher, teacher, look at what I made!" their little faces light up with joy and enthusiasm. "Teacher, Tommy is being mean," they tell me in their little way. "Teacher, yesterday I saw a beautiful round butterfly," and it's a never-ending cycle of laughter, learning, and growth. Then, later in the afternoon, when the day was complete and I would drive home, I lay my head down on a pillow with satisfaction. That made me love this job - that feeling of knowing you've made a difference.
Some of you out there might be thinking of jumping ship. You may have had enough of your current job and want something more exciting. Maybe you want to make a change. Well, I'm here to tell you: don't wait another minute. Undoubtedly, some of us were meant to be Early Childhood Professionals. You feel it in your blood, bones, and even the air. Deep in your heart, you know how to empathize with children and adults. Your intuition is high as you can tell if something is wrong or right with the environment. You also profoundly understand issues such as culture, language, and diversity. You hate violence, and people around you treat you with respect. That's what makes you different, unique, and essential for anything related to Early Childhood Education.
The problem with our modern times is that so many are clueless about their true personality. And what happens if you are clueless? You end up settling for something that doesn't fit you. You follow the crowd and be a part of the status quo. Then, twenty years later, you look back and wonder why you wasted your precious time when you could have lived life to the fullest by being a mentor, educator, or early childhood professional. Well, I won't delve into that, but if there's one thing I want you to take away, it's never quite late to embark on a new journey in life that is symphonious with who you found yourself to be. You know who you are, and that's another reason to change. Suppose you feel the urge to live a legacy and join the likes of Maria Montessori, Vygotsky, Piaget, Charlotte Mason, John Dewey, Emma Stratton, Margaret McMillan, Friedrich Froebel Elizabeth Peabody, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Theodor Leschetizky and many other great early childhood professionals. In that case, Early Childhood Education could be the career path for you.
In my case, I had always dreamed of making a difference in the lives of children, youth, and families and helping them reach their highest potential. I wasn't sure how to accomplish this as a young woman, but I had it as this faint dream that you fantasize about but never really take seriously. However, while in college, the idea was still looming in my mind, so I worked on campus at the local daycare center. That experience helped me decide to be an educator and, subsequently, an early childhood professional. The rest, as they say, is history!
Along the way, I encountered many wonderful professionals who have been in this profession for life. They inspired me to be a better provider and gave me some incredible advice about how to make it further in this field. As I continued my career, I took on more responsibilities and became an inspirational leader in Early Childhood Education. I now mentor teachers, childcare directors, and administrators and guide those beginning their journey. I am proud of my accomplishments and the valuable contribution I bring to the lives of others.
Early Childhood Education is more than just a job – it's the nature of life. It requires a unique blend of compassion and strong organizational skills. I also know it's not the profession for everyone, but those of us who choose this path will have a lasting mark on children and their families. I'm proud to be an Early Childhood Professional—to shape children's lives positively. If this has touched you to embark on your journey as an Early Childhood Professional, my advice is: don't look back! Embrace it.
PracticeOutcome. (n.a). Early childhood professionals. Retrieved from: https://practicaloutcomes.edu.au/early-childhood-educators-make-a-difference/
Meet The Author: Sheika Petteway
Sheika Petteway provides educational and leadership training to individuals and organizations. She is the founder and CEO of Elite Educational Enterprises and has several years of experience serving in the early childhood education industry.
Learn More about Mrs. Petteway by visiting her personal website www.sheikapetteway.com