When I was first approached about putting a nomination in for the Anti-Bias award I went through a process that I’m sure every educator would have gone through which is one full of intimidation, fear and reluctance.
“No, I can’t nominate myself, which just shows how big of an ego I have”
“I haven’t done enough to warrant this”
“There are so many more people that deserve this award than me”
Let’s be honest, as a profession we rarely stand up and ourselves forward for accolades. It’s not deemed an attractive part of the profession, we are here for children, families, our colleagues and the community, not for ourselves. After multiple conversations from my colleagues both within my organisation and those out with, I decided that there was no harm in at least forming an application and seeing where it leads me even if I ultimately decided to refrain from submitting the application. I couldn’t be more thankful that I didn’t listen to myself and allowed others encouragement to guide me.
The process itself really helped in changing my outlook. As I started to answer the questions I found my mind travelling back over my whole career so far. I was picking out snippets of interactions, narratives, relationships, resources and curriculum decisions that at the time to me felt natural and in no way significant beyond the responsibilities of my role. I was seeing my whole journey through a new lens, a lens specific to Anti-Bias. Through committing to the process I was able to reflect on a career lived, gaining new perspectives on different points. I noticed how much the Anti-Bias goals and principles were embedded through my practice, how they guided me on my journey and getting me to this point without me realising it.
I submitted the application and though no more about it, what will be will be. I had already gained so much through the process of reflection. I had clarity and purpose, at least more so than I had before. I recognised the importance of Anti-Bias within early childhood education and our society. I recognised how unconsciously embedded the goals had become in my practice. Most importantly, I recognised the importance of my role within it all, teaching, sharing, living.
When I got the call about being the recipient, I was overjoyed. I was grateful that the work I had been doing was noticed as significant in the grander scheme of things. By coincidence or something larger at play, the same day also saw me receive notification of citizenship within Australia. I think this moment is when it really hit me. In the space of twelve hours I had received confirmation that I belonged. I belonged to the profession I had chosen that I was so passionate about and I belonged in the country I choose to call my home. Isn’t this what we are all looking for, isn’t this what we teach and aspire for children, that sense of belonging, that affirmation that we are on the right path and to keep on going?
When the day came to receive the award at the social justice conference, my purpose and opportunities were apparent. I was able to mix with a group of like-minded people that at heart were connected through similar practices. We were able to share stories, gain ideas, find similarities and encourage each other to keep the passion and advocacy alive in ourselves and others. With each new connection came the potential for mentorship where I could learn and be guided in my future decisions and prospects.
All of this is not even taking into account the prize itself which has let me continue to build my knowledge through funding courses, expanding my resources, challenging my thinking and providing richer opportunities to explore Anti-Bias themes within my practice with children. Since receiving the award and recognition I have a clearer purpose, I am focused and driven towards continuing to ensure that the Anti-Bias goals and themes are embedded, not just in my own practice, but in all environment I engage with both professionally and personally.
So what are the benefits of putting in a nomination? You can help to squash the constant view that early childhood educators aren’t good enough by knowing your self-worth and showcasing all you have done. You will go on a reflective journey where you can show that you have made a difference to the lives of children, families, educators and the community. You will find like-minded people that will celebrate you and all that you bring to the profession. You will find opportunities to explore where your passion truly lies and discover the purpose and drive to challenge yourself, pushing you forward to your next best professional level.
I can’t encourage you enough to just start the process, it may surprise you as much as it did me.
Anti-Bias Award Recipient 2018