Working with young children isn't a job for everyone, since it depends on your personality and what you are looking to get out of a job. Some people are better able than others to handle the needs and desires of young preschoolers. When you consider working with preschoolers, it is best to evaluate whether you are a good fit before you take the job.
Love of Children
Some people have a natural urge to work with young children. Even at a young age, you may know that you want to be a preschool teacher or a day care worker with preschool-aged children. Whether you have children of your own or have not had children, working with preschool children can help you express your love for children through caring for the children of others. Working with the children of others also allows you to have a positive impact on the children without the same kind of long-term commitment as raising a child.
Your personal characteristics can have an impact on whether teaching preschoolers is right for you. Having high levels of patience and understanding are keys to being able to effectively work with this age group. Someone who cannot handle a lot of noise or crying children, or someone who is easily frustrated will not operate well in a preschool classroom. Someone who can confront chaos, can console an upset child, and has a high level of patience will likely do well.
Making a Difference
Being a teacher on any level allows you to make a difference in the lives of numerous children, but preschool children are particularly impressionable. This means that you can make a big difference in each child's life, especially those children who are experiencing personal difficulties, such as divorce, illness or a death in the family. Preschool teachers must be compassionate and willing to be there for a child on more than just an educational level. While preschool-aged children you help may not remember you specifically when they are grown, the lessons you teach them will stick with them.
Your Own Children
Some parents want to work with other preschool children as a way to spend extra time with their own children. For some people, placing a young child in daycare is too expensive or is emotionally difficult, or a family with small children may need two incomes to pay all of the bills. Working in a preschool classroom can allow some parents to have their own preschoolers near them. Once their own children are too old for preschool, they can keep working with other preschool children as their children go through the rest of their school years. Working in a preschool classroom can help parents hold onto a stage that their own children outgrow -- often quickly.
A Sense of Calling
Some people simply feel a calling to work with young children. When you consider what you want to do, working with children may be the only thing that seems appealing to you. Or you might start down another career path -- either in college or after -- and you may not feel satisfied with your work. If all of your personal characteristics line up with working with preschool children and you have a strong desire to do so, finding a job in the education field may be the right path for you. Getting involved with working with preschoolers is not often done for the money because these workers often do not make a lot of money.
2016 Salary Information for Childcare Workers
Childcare workers earned a median annual salary of $21,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, childcare workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,680, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $25,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,216,600 people were employed in the U.S. as childcare workers.
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