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Working with Infants I 11 “You Do What?” My Story about Being an Infant Teacher What Professions Does Our Society Value? Think about it. What professions do you think that our society really values? Is infant teacher on the list? Here are some occupations that I thought of. See if you can add a couple more to the list. Do you notice that behind each of these titles is an abbreviation indicating the degree or title held by the profession or a word indicating the status of the occupation? In the cases following, the abbreviation usually refers to a degree, title, or special certification. Check them out and add a couple more you can think of. i Doctor, MD i Lawyer, Esq. i Accountant, CPA i Head of company, CEO understanding infants I was an infant teacher many years ago. At a social gathering or family event, when someone asked me, “What do you do?” I initially responded proudly, “I’m an infant teacher.” People were not only unimpressed and uninterested by my reply, they often made comments like, “So you’re kind of like a babysitter?” And then they would walk away to talk with someone whom they viewed as having a more meaningful and interesting job, like a lawyer or banker. Actually anything but what I did seemed more impressive. One evening at a party at the New York Academy of Sciences—my husband is a scientist—I quickly tired of the fact that no one seemed to care about how I was changing the world one diaper at a time by working with infants. When the next person asked the usual question, “So what do you do?” I answered with, “I’m an NDS.” Intrigued, the scientist asked me to tell him more. “Well,” I explained with great pride, “I work hands-on with infants, interacting in a classroom-like setting, helping to enhance the development of neurons in the brain. It’s quite compli- cated,” I added. The questioner was impressed. The next time I replied, “I’m an NDS” at one of those scientific functions, a man responded with, “Oh, wow, I’ve heard of that,” which is impossible, since I made it up to impress people! Ha!