Thursday, 24 April 2014

A Substitute Teacher Starter Pack

Teaching, especially if you are a preschool teacher, is not a job. Being a preschool teacher means that every day you are making an impact on and changing the lives of the children that you teach. Nothing can be more rewarding, but it is also a huge responsibility. What happens when the unforeseen occurs and you have to take time off?  Surely a substitute teacher will be brought in, but will he or she be able to provide the continuity in the learning process that is so important when dealing with young minds? Or will the whole system be disrupted, leaving the kids at a loss and you with a mess to clean up when you return? It’s not the substitute’s fault – if no guidance is given, he or she will have to use his or her instincts and hope for the best.

Guiding the Substitute

So how do you do this, if you are not at school and cannot meet the substitute? The answer is to prepare a Substitute Teacher Starter Pack. This should be available with the school administration and given to the person who is filling in for you.

Creating a Starter Pack

So what is a starter pack and how do you make one? The pack could be just a folder where all the documents that you need to explain what you want are kept. Or you could go high tech and create a CD. It’s up to you. The pack should contain:
  • A list of all the documents that are in the pack
  • A class list with as much information as you can give / as is relevant about the children in the class. Even a few sentences is often enough to provide the substitute with the base for dealing with a child.
  • A list of contacts – parents, emergency numbers, other teachers who can give guidance / advice, and so on. The school administration will probably give this anyway, but your doing it is a gesture that will boost the substitute’s confidence.
  • Details of the kind of discipline you maintain in the class and the methods you use. Provide information on the type of behavior you expect. This is critical because if the kids find that in your absences they can get away with more than normal, pulling them back inline on your return will be tough.
  • Details of class rules
  • A dismissal list
  • Either details of emergency procedures or information on where these can be found.
  • Anything else you can think of to make life easier for the kids and the substitute.
This kind of pack will keep the effects of your absence to a minimum. But do not expect to find on your return that it is as if you had not been away. The substitute is not you and even with the best of intensions, things will be different in your absence. And would you be happy if your children did not miss you?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

What Early Childhood Education can Teach you

Studying early childhood education is not just a requirement for getting a teaching job. It is an education in itself and provides valuable life skills that will impact every aspect of lives. Teaching is not just the imparting of knowledge by teachers to students. It is a vocation that demands a range of special skills that enable the teacher to not just teach, but to educate.

Understanding the Learning Process

Obtaining an early childhood education degree or diploma means that the student has to learn about the special tools that are used to help a child to begin the learning process and to lay down an education plan for the purpose of future learning.

In other words, the student must understand the learning process from beginning to end. This is a skill that will help in every aspect of life where information or knowledge needs to be communicated.

Relationship Building

Obviously studying early childhood education includes learning how to communicate and build relationship with children.  What is often overlooked is the fact that an early childhood educator holds a very important position in the community. Parents look upon the preschool teacher as a vital component in their children’s’ lives and futures.

Learning and Using Hands-on Techniques

Teaching preschoolers cannot be done purely on the basis of books or verbal instruction. They learn how to use hands-on tools and techniques to enhance the learning process. This involves the use of sand, water, toys, and blocks as tools to teach to attract children’s undivided attention.

Being an advocate

An important part of studying early childhood education is learning to be an advocate for additional resources and new initiatives. In every life there are issues to be supported. The ability to advocate for children easily translates into the ability to advocate for adult issues.

The reason or studying early childhood education is of course, the desire to be a successful teacher of young children. But what is learned are things that go far beyond the preschool and which provide for the honing of many skills that are required to be able to perform as a contributing member of society.