Are You an Early Childhood Professional?
You may be thinking, “What is an early childhood professional?” Perhaps
you refer to yourself as a preschool teacher, a child care provider, a family
child care provider, a nursery school teacher, or just a plain teacher. An early
childhood professional is anyone who cares for and educates young children,
typically newborns to early schoolagers. Let’s not forget substitutes, directors,
coordinators, and all the other titles people use in our field. They’re all early
childhood professionals too.
Have you not really considered yourself a professional? Many in early
childhood education don’t see themselves as professionals, and that’s no sur-
prise, given that society often views those in the field as babysitters or pseudo
teachers. Our wages certainly don’t match up to the compensation of other
professional jobs, and many people just don’t understand what we do. A lot of
them think we play all day. If they only knew.
Contrary to what some may think, you are a professional, and parts
of your role as a professional include feeling like a professional and acting
like a professional. It’s difficult to feel competent and important when oth-
ers don’t see you that way, but perhaps if more people in the early childhood
field claimed the title of professional, consistently demonstrated professional
behavior, and worked to advocate for the field, society would begin to view us
that way. Are you ready for the challenge?
What Makes a Professional?
There are many factors that determine professionalism in any field:
How you present yourself to others through your appearance