Teaching preschool is not for the faint of heart. Managing to teach, encourage, and nurture several small children with vastly different personalities is a huge feat. When you also consider preschool teachers have to communicate effectively with parents, deal with the occasional potty accident, and always ensure their school is offering the best programs for preschoolers, it becomes clear preschool teachers need to have some very specific skill sets and personality traits.
While there are many good preschool teachers around, the very best preschool teachers seem to share these qualities.
Teaching preschool isn’t just a job. It’s a huge responsibility to shape the minds and emotions of small children. A teacher who just wants to clock in and out each day, but doesn’t truly care about what he or she is doing, isn’t going to give a child the best preschool education or experience.
Preschool teachers should be passionate about what they do. They should be interested in finding new ways to reach and teach children, should find delight when children “get it,” and should look forward to going to work. Of course, teaching preschool has its drawbacks, and bad days can be expected, but the best preschool teachers just roll with setbacks. They’re there because they love what they do.
Preschool children need structure. When they know what’s coming next, they feel less anxious and more able to engage in their activities. A great preschool teacher follows an organized plan from day to day and keeps to a structured curriculum. He or she also has an organized system for drop-offs and pickups, communicating with parents, keeping the space neat and tidy, etc. Everyone, including parents, knows what to expect at all times.
Patience + a Dash of Humor
The best preschool teachers understand mistakes and accidents happen, especially with toddlers. They patiently handle upsets with a sense of humor, and don’t let minor issues phase them. They keep the end goal in mind, and don’t dwell on frustrations in the moment. Children respond well to these non-judgmental reactions to their behavior, and they feel more confident to try new things when they know they’ll be patiently encouraged or redirected.
Even though children are no longer forced to fall in line and conform to one best way of teaching (the teacher’s way of course) like in the olden days, some teachers still have trouble allowing each child to learn in their own way.
The best preschool teachers know children come from different families, backgrounds, and experiences. They understand neurological differences are often at play, and they observe and interact with their students in such a way that helps them to determine each child’s best path forward. A great preschool teacher doesn’t try to fit every child into one box. If Child A needs to wiggle more than Child B, a great preschool teacher will adapt an activity to make that possible.
A great preschool teacher understands when a limit has been reached, and doesn’t try to skirt around it or avoid it. If a child is struggling with a developmental delay, she won’t hold him to impossible standards, and she won’t ignore the issue. She’ll communicate with the parents and come up with realistic solutions that will work for everyone.
Sometimes, a lesson goes over a child’s head. Sometimes, children can’t focus because it’s raining outside. A great preschool teacher will recognize when things aren’t going in the right direction and will skillfully redirect the children. The difficult lesson plan will be abandoned in favor of a wiggle activity that teaches the same concept. The children will be taken to the window to watch the rain and discuss weather patterns. Whatever comes up, a great preschool teacher will be able to think quickly to keep the children engaged and learning.
A great preschool teacher watches how the children interact, noticing if one child is withdrawn or if a child is monopolizing all the activities. Great preschool teachers get down and interact with the children, giving them a close-up view for understanding how each child thinks, and allowing them to anticipate or even avoid potential troubles.
Most importantly, the best preschool teachers love their students. This love helps motivate their actions towards kind solutions to problems and joyful learning experiences. When children feel loved and safe, they feel free to learn.
Little Academy of Humble is a child care learning center with the very best preschool teachers who provide a nurturing, loving environment where each child is given the opportunity to thrive. Give us a call at (281) 459-3378, or contact online to schedule a tour.