What 10 Years of Childcare Has Taught Me

This year marks my 10th year of working with children in a school setting. I have been working with children for far longer than 10 years as a whole, really – from babysitting to teaching swim lessons as a teen, as well as being an older sibling to my three brothers. But since graduating college with a degree in secondary education, I have been working with children for 10 years in a professional environment. I taught public high school social studies for 4 years, coached high school sports for 7 years and have been teaching preschool for 3 years. I have learned so many things in those years – mostly from the children – and it is humbling to reflect on. I decided to share with you some thoughts on this experience. 

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Children Go Through Too Much  

I used to think that some of the issues I dealt with as a child/young adult were really big problems like betrayal by friends, parental lay-offs, friend suicides, depression, anxiety, etc… I quickly learned by the first few years of teaching how easy I had it. I have had these kids confide in me that they were sleeping in cars, sexually/emotionally/physically abused, evicted, homeless, overdosed, beaten, raped, and put in deadly situations. It is amazing some of the things these kids go through at such a young age. By the time they become adults, it’s no wonder they are so jaded.  

Now I am not naive enough to think these things never occurred. On the contrary, I was aware of some of these issues with families I knew growing up. However, I had no idea how widespread and common issues like these occur. Honestly, there were at least one in each class and definitely more that I never knew about. Even in the preschool setting – these things still occur. Now it is much harder to find out about these scenarios- but unfortunately they occur as well. You could ask any teacher – they have a laundry list of awful stories they could share about these kids. But the ones who survive and prosper – they are the ones that give us the hope that one day all of these horrible scenarios won’t damage our future generations. 

These poor children have to grow up too quickly. They must deal with adult things at far too young of an age. It has encouraged me as a parent to keep the fun of imagination with my children running rampant. But I also want to make sure that I am not raising two naive girls as well. Even though they are so young – we talk about what abuse looks like; what to do in a violent/shooting scenario; how to ask for help; how to get yourself back to Mommy and Daddy. I don’t want my children to feel like we did not set them up with the tools to keep them safe from the abusers of the world. 

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Horrors Of The Internet – I wish I could say to just keep kids off the internet as a rule. But unfortunately that is just not an option in today’s society. They need the internet at such a young age for school that there is no way around it. Although the internet has brought us closer together and given us more information than we could ever need… It also has brought a large host of problems. 

Children learn and see too many things that are not age appropriate. Even with all the parental controls out there – this stuff still gets through. Then there is the “internet bully” which empower people to behave poorly with minimal consequence. Lastly, the internet is also a place people tend to brag about their poor behavior – which can lead to hard, lifelong lessons. All of these things are constant difficulties that parents and teachers have to deal with. Even as a teacher, I have had to be very careful about what I put on the internet. 

The internet should be closely monitored for any child – and if possible, used sparingly. I have learned how quickly rumors spread and bad posts get share from my experience working with children.  It is sad to see how it has destroyed so many people’s lives. I think many of us long for the days when the internet didn’t exist.

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Oh Parents – Parents are so important to the role of education. They need to be encouragers, reminders, and sometimes enforcers. I have worked with many wonderful parents over the years who were great examples of how to promote education and be supportive at the same time. In fact, some of these parents have become very good friends of mine in the process. 

I wish I could say all parents were this supportive and helpful – but alas, that is not the case. I think the most frustrating parents to deal with are those who are unwilling to work with the teacher. Now this may occur for a variety of reasons – several are totally understandable. The ones I have a hard time understanding are the parents who want to blame or not listen to the teacher about the current situation. It is so important for the student, teacher and parent to all work together in order to keep the child successful. Without a working relationship, it really does make success very difficult to obtain. 

What About Me – I have probably learned the most about myself since I began teaching 9 years ago. I have learned how to have some patience (I literally had none before). I have learned to give up some control and be ok with it. I have learned that I really don’t like a lot of physical contact. I have learned that I am not great with crying – I really become an awkward turtle then! I have learned that I love children more than I thought and really get a lot of joy out of working with them. I have learned that even though teaching helped prepare me for motherhood – it is definitely NOT the same. Lastly, I have learned that I can relate to more people than I ever thought possible. I love working with children and it really has given my life a ton of joy over the years. 

Some days are so long when working with children – but honestly the years are short. I can’t believe how long I have been working with children! When I was a child I ALWAYS played teacher and now that I am one, I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I look forward to many more trials and tribulations that I will go through as I continue teaching but I look especially forward to even more life lessons that my students are bound to teach me. So cheers to 10 years and looking forward to many more! 

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Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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