Never in my life have I ever felt comfortable admitting that I was good at something! Perhaps this is because I didn’t feel like I was good at anything. But what is ‘good’? Who determines the ‘goodness’ of something? Growing up, being ‘good’ was always a product of another’s expectations or a goal set by another person which I hoped to achieve. So I was never satisfied or confident in myself.
Early childhood education has taught me a lot in just a short space of time. On top of the things one would expect to take from working with children, I’ve also found myself feeling more ‘grounded’ and full of purpose. I could never have anticipated this starting my journey. In just a few years I would come to realise a fierce inferno of passion ablaze within me.
In learning about and with children, I’ve awoken to the essence of ‘humanhood’: connection – connection to people, place and self. My relationship with the act of reflection has enabled me to not only view the practice of facilitating learning and bettering practice in a meaningful way but also deepen my understanding of how the experiences I have lived have really impacted on who I am today. I’ve learned to channel my doubts and anxieties into a deep critical refection of every experience I observe and am a part of.
There is no ‘best’ educator. ‘Best’ implies that the goodness of something has reached its potential. So I don’t believe that the ‘best’ teacher exists. I do, however, believe that our profession is made up of educators who share the determination and passion as I do – good, brilliant and innovative educators. Hang on, did I just admit that I was ‘good’ at something? I’ll let the children critique me on that one!
Being a great educator doesn’t mean having all the answers, but it does mean keeping the intent of our work at the forefront of our pedagogical approach. I have found a purpose and I live this purpose with a powerful intention to be part of a movement that is fueling the hearts and minds of others and for generations to come. Education will never be stagnant – and I’d like to take a moment to thank my favourite past time – critical reflection – for being the driving force for our growth. As society progresses, so will education and so will I.
I do not ever want to find myself closed-minded, lost from the sight of my purpose, and stuck in any ways. I have committed myself to early education for I know deep down inside of me that this is my calling. I am committing myself to being and becoming a lifelong learn-er, a learning facilitator, a reflection goddess, a theorist in my own right, a researcher and an advocate for children.
I dream of play dates with early pioneers of education and envision coffee breaks with the innovators and activists of today. When people ask me where I see myself a few years down the track, I really can’t say. It will be what I make it. All I know is that I am – and will be – standing with and for the youngest citizens of the world. I am going to empower them to love, believe and fight for themselves and others with compassion and humility.
When you work in early childhood, you have an immense responsibility – a responsibility to the children, the families, your colleagues, the community, the politics of your place, the greater workforce, the future and I could keep going and I will! There is no way you could possibly explain the work of an early childhood educator in just a few short novels. Don’t lose sight of your purpose. Every day I am grateful for early childhood education and what it continues to do for the world and what it has brought me. Every day I remind myself of why I do what I do and am grateful for the challenges and opportunities ahead. I love being an early childhood educator, cannot wait to see where teaching takes me and I feel empowered to know that I share this invigorating passion with many others across the early childhood education sector. We want our work to be recognised and valued because we know that the early years are critical to the well-being of the individual and the well-being of the collective. So we fight fiercely for professional wages because our children deserve extraordinary educators who should never be forced take the exit off ‘the education highway’ as a result of unsustainable salaries. This is lifework. It needs to be sustainable. When we harness the power of early education, we grapple with the power to literally change the world.
My mountain is waiting. I hope to meet you along the route. So… I’m on my way!