What working with children has taught me

If I were to be asked a year ago what was a job I would never have, I would say anything with children involved. Fast forward to today, I am right in that situation. I work at a daycare and I am in the toddler room with nine one and two year olds. I am with these children for 40 hours a week. I will say it is something I never thought I would be doing and am surprised at myself, honestly, for accepting this job in the first place. With that being said, I have learned a lot in the short amount of time I have been here. I have been working at this daycare for a little over three months and I think I have learned more about my own self and about children than I imagined. Even though I am the teacher, I feel like they were able to teach me more than I thought they would in this short amount of time.

 

1. I am selfish.

Children take up a lot of your time. After work, I just want to go home and do what I want to do. With children, I would not be able to do that. I want to cook what I want to cook, eat when I want to eat, workout when I want to, and just relax sometimes and not do anything. If I had children, none of that would be possible. Being a parent is a more than selfless job and I never knew how much time they took until working at the daycare. They need to be at your beckoning call 24/7 and that is not always easy. I would not be able to plan vacations the same way, just pick up some job for extra cash, go anyplace without it being a treat, and most of my money would be spent on them. So, yes, I am selfish.

2. I am not as patient as I thought I was.

Children get on your nerves.

This pretty much sums up everything about children. It almost seems like they try not to listen to the words coming out of your mouth. You want them to go left and they go right. Also, since I am supposed to be teaching them things, I feel defeated when they don’t understand what I am trying to teach them. I try to make it easy to understand and fun for them while also pleasing the parents. It is not an easy journey to get them through learning things. Especially when I know we did a whole unit on it and they don’t remember what we learned before hand. I used to think I was patient with most people; children, however, do not fit into that category. 

3. They taught me a new way of communicating instead of just words.

Kids won’t always tell you what is going on in their heads, and sometimes they do, but it’s in a babble that only they understand. After a few months with these kiddos, I have been able to see when someone is not acting the same and notice if they aren’t feeling good, if they are afraid, or if something else is up. I have also learned that it is hard for some kids to relate how they feel. They won’t always tell you when they feel sick or if they are upset or angry. You kind of have to figure it out for yourself. Words are not always needed for communication; you just have to figure it out.

4. They really are learning by everything you do.

The best way I can describe this is they watch everything you do and will repeat it. Whether it be words or actions. They remember, and if you do it a lot, you will notice because these kids will. They will remember that you have no idea what they are saying and respond with “Huh?” because they will repeat that phrase over and over. They will know that a lion growls and a pig oinks because you sang Old McDonald at least a thousand times. They will remember you read a book once and so that means every time they can, they will hand you a book to read. They will remember what a triangle is because you came up with a catchy song for triangles during that week. They will learn the other children’s names because you say them all day long. They are like little sponges. They are learning EVERYTHING.

5. As frustrating as they can be, they also can be a world of delight.

It’s the moments you don’t expect is when you get a little taste of what it is like to be a parent. You see they are not afraid of the toilet anymore, they are learning their colors and shapes, they are learning to communicate things they want, they are using their words instead of having meltdowns, and they bring a smile to your face even after being completely frustrating. I will never say that being a parent is easy, because it is not. I give a lot of credit to parents. It is absolutely true that they say parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is out there. But I can see why they also say it is one of the most rewarding.

 

I have learned so much in this short amount of time with these kids. I can only imagine what they are going to teach me throughout the year. It is all about getting that warm welcome of a room full of “Hellos!” when you walk through the door, the same room full of “Byes!” when I leave, the times when a child will just run up and hug you for no reason other than just to show you they love you, and the smiles on their faces when they are learning. Even though they think I am their teacher, they are actually teaching me. 

Until next time, 

Kaytee L.