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Friday, January 8, 2010

Caring, Confronting or Compromising?

Years ago when I was fresh out of school with my fancy new Early Childhood Education I landed a great paying job in a small center. I remember being very excited about putting all my hard earned education into practice.

Here is the story I love to tell new teachers. One of my jobs at my first center was getting the kids off the daycare van. The driver was also an daycare owner who drove the van for our center as well as her own center. She would pull up and blow her horn. I'd stand outside and mark off each child that got off the van. One day she comes back to our center with two of our children. Apparently, these two fell asleep that morning and never got off the van! Although she never confronted me she made sure she told my director how upset she was with me and all the things that could have went wrong had she not found those kids. Oh my...I was mortified. I left work that day and sat shamefully in my professors office to sob and tell her all the horrible details. She listened carefully and handed me tissues between my sobs. After I was done she calmly asked where was my copy of the Department of Children and Families Rules and Regulations. I told her it was in my bag at home. She handed me another copy and told me, "This is like your bible, I want you to know it inside and out." "If you plan on keeping this job, you do not compromise!" Her instructions were for me to get on the van and check every seat and on the floor, check off each student, sign my name and have the driver to sign as well.

Oh with my new found focus I was even sharper than before! The driver of the van would be so annoyed each morning when I climbed aboard with my clip board walking to the back of the van working my way to the front. The taps of her foot, the rolls of her eyes, the long sighs, or the impatient tapping on the steering wheel NEVER bothered me as much as leaving those kids on her van.

Years later, I STILL DO NOT compromise. I recently scolded a teacher regarding safety issues and she was very upset with me since "I'm not the boss". What I did tell her was that I like to buy my own silver bracelets. I'd rather NOT get free ones because she chooses to compromise, I'd rather care enough to confront.


  1. Thank you Deb (Teach Preschool) for the appropriate picture you provided:)

  2. I can remember going to the zoo with my preschool class (all 27 of them) and a handful of parents. We were at the monkeys and then walked up the hill to see something else. While all the children and parents went ahead I stayed behind to do a head count. There was one girl missing and I knew exactly who she was. Only moments had passed and I went back down the hill and found her crying with a group of mommies trying to get her to tell them her name. This only was making her cry more:) So I reached over everyone and tapped her - she looked up and jumped in my arms. Needless to say, she held my hand the rest of the day.

    Feeling terrible about the incident, I shared it with mom and dad that night and they were very sweet but they told me something that I has left a lasting impression on me ever since - "We just want you to know that we love our daughter more than anything in the whole world and anything you can do to always keep her safe for us is all we truly ask." So now, regardless of rules, regulations, or liability, the thing that makes me think twice is that each child is loved deeply by a parent or guardian and I am responsible to make sure nothing happens.

  3. Supervision & safety is is such a vital part of Early Childhood. All the wonderful art, science and circle times won't mean a thing if the little ones aren't safe.
    I ask to see the learning environment and ask about teacher turn over/or how long teachers have worked at the school before I consider working there. It's very important to investigate...
    Sometimes,the experience of others is the best teacher...Thanks for sharing.

  4. I feel like I spend every moment of every field trip counting heads. I typically have given the head counting job to at least two other adults, so there are three of us constantly counting.

    I'm knocking on wood as I write this, but we've never lost a child, although one did frighten us by hiding in the bathroom one day (he'd peed a little on his pants and was embarrassed to come out). I'm so honored that these parents trust me with their children. I want to prove that their trust is justified.

  5. That is a good way to put it Tom - it is an honor to be trusted.

  6. Wow - I can tell that was a horrible day for you.

    When I've taken students on field trips, outside, or even when I sub gym, I can't count how many times I do a head count. I'm paranoid about losing a child. Once, I marked a kid absent when the student was present, and the secretary called the room to reprimand me. It was just a slide of a row, but she was aggravated that she made a call to the parent,, who I'm sure wasn't happy that we weren't keeping proper track of her child.

  7. Thanks everyone for coming and sharing:)

    What I realize is it only takes one slip for something to go wrong. But if the incident is not life threatening you are granted the gift of a second chance; and chances WILL NOT make the same mistake twice! Ahh, the beauty of learning!

  8. Thanks for all you share here and on Facebook! I gave you an award on my blog today. :)

  9. Thanks for all you share both here and on facebook! I gave you an award on my blog! :)