OK Be Honest - Who Thinks Teaching in Early Childhood Is Easy?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, May 5, 2009.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    So I don't want this to turn into who has the hardest job, because I know teaching is stressful to everyone.

    I'm just wondering where this perception comes from that teachers who teach Pre-K and K don't have to work very hard. One of our 3rd Grade teachers was in the copy room with 2 Kinder teachers today and I think she was sorry she said anything. She was saying she wanted to move down to a lower grade because she's doing her master's this fall and needs her nights free from planning, etc.

    We were like, um... we plan too. Plus we have to make everything we use for workstations each week, our own assessments (because there aren't any good published ones out there and we don't have textbooks). Plan for small group instruction in reading and math on top of the whole group lessons, not to mention the hours spent looking for ideas for projects and things to keep the high kids challenged and remediate for those who can't even spell their own name. I have been coming into school at 6:30 and staying until at least 5:30 for the past few months and I still don't feel caught up. It's not the first time I've heard these comments either.

    All teachers deserve appreciation this week, but I just wish we could change this perception that we play and fingerpaint all day. Just my :2cents:.
     
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  3. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    It's just different. Not easier. Not harder. Just different.

    My :2cents:.
     
  4. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    You couldn't pay me enough to go below third grade...:lol: I worked as a permanent sub and whenever I subbed in any class below third grade I was exhausted!! :dizzy:
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    You have my vote that your job is harder than mine :) and I really mean it. As bad as any student or class I have, I only have them for 50 minutes - I can do almost anything for 50 minutes. I can't imagine having the same kids and problems ALL DAY LONG :) So for that reason alone - you've got my vote. :D
     
  6. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    I love teaching 6th grade and would be so intimidated to teach pre-K and K. I don't know if I could manage it! I know it is a challenging job.
     
  7. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I have taught K, 4th and 6th-8th. Each had their challenges but 4th was the easiest for me and I really like the curriculum.
     
  8. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    If anyone answers yes to this question you are nuts!!!!!!!!

    I think every age has its pros and cons...but early childhood definitely takes a very special person!

    I have found out in the past few years that I am NOT one of these people!
     
  9. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    As far as prep goes, I can't imagine anything more time-consuming than kindergarten. And no, they don't take naps anymore. So there is no "extra" planning time there. I see our kdg teachers constantly lugging in boxes of things they've worked on over the weekend.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I teach third and I almost had to go to kindergarten last year (to make sure I had a job my second year!) I really didn't want to do it-because I know how hard it would be! I don't know how anyone would say kindergarten is easy.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    To create a great program that is developmentally appropriate takes a lot of time and committment. A good ECE teacher is hard to find. The pressures of using worksheets, drills, and rote learning are traps many ECE teachers fall into. To create hands on learning is an art.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Agree with her.

    Tell her it's the best job in the world and suggest she give it a try.

    Let the experience teach her what words never will-- that there's no such thing as a prep-free teaching job.
     
  13. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    I certainly don't think that! You have to be on all day everyday. There is no - or barely any- independent work time where you might be able to get something done. Heavens, even if first grade, I notice when my kids are working independently and I can breathe.

    I guess in upper elementary you do have the stress of the standardized tests which doesn't exist in Kinder. Maybe that is where she is coming from.

    She probably let it roll off her tongue and then realized what she said. I just think it is different at every grade and not every one can teach every grade ...even if qualified on paper.
     
  14. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    That's interesting because I always hear how upper grades are easier and I get mad at that. I think maybe you (and I) pay more attention to when people say things like that about our own grades because we teach them. In reality, I think people probably say certain grades are easy equally.

    I have worked in lower and upper grades and I find them both difficult for different reasons.
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think every grade is unique and challenging. I love it when people tell me they think Special ed is easy because my students don't take tests, can't read, write or speak even. They think we play games all day! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
     
  16. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    I admire people who teach the little ones. I admire all teachers who do their job the right way. Of course I get tired of people thinking all I do in music is sing, dance and play instruments. Most classroom teachers here don't realize I have real standards to cover (and no resources to do it with!)
     
  17. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    I teach K-6 with the exception of 2nd grade because they are designated to go to band at the same hour as 3rd grade comes to art.

    I think everyone saying that each of us look into the other pasture and think the grass is greener has the right of it. I have gotten a peek into the life of a sixth grade math teacher the last few weeks and I'm glad I made the choice I made for my area. Her pressures are many times more than my own. I've dealings with the Kindergarten teachers lately and I see that they feel a great amount of pressure as well. I think that much of the pressure arises from scripted learning. WhereI get to go off script however and whenever I want, other teachers in other areas have to maintain a focus and stick to the path or they'll feel they haven't accomplished anything.

    I have a great deal of empathy for teachers in other areas because my biggest worry is not having enough materials to last the year.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree that each grade level presents a different set of challenges. I've taught kinder before, and don't think I could do it again.
     
  19. reg79

    reg79 New Member

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    It's backbreaking to say the least, if nothing else; i truly sympathise with you, I used to teach very young ones many years ago and although I've enjoyed it, I had to move to G5 due to a back injury.
     
  20. Miss W

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    Yes. It beats working in a factory during the summer in 124 degree weather.
    Oh, you mean easier than other levels. Hey. Teaching is hard. People don't understand that unless they've been in our shoes. And then you have different levels thinking their work is harder than others. Everyone has their own niche. I couldn't teach middle school. I would go nuts. There is a reason I'm certified birth-4th grade. I've done a lot of work in K, so I know it's hard. I think 2nd grade is hard too. It just happens to be my favorite grade level.

    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week everyone!
     
  21. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Content wise I think high school grades are much harder. Class management and having enough strategies to prevent kids from getting bored or taking over the class (in a bad way) is much much harder in the younger grades. My 5th graders exhaust the heck out of me, something I didn't see as much as when I was teaching high school.
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I had someone say this to me the other day. I was hurt. I have taught several grades and this has been the hardest for me. They are smart enough to ask questions, but they can't work for long periods independently. They can do some math. And because they are all immature ---that is why they are with me!---I break up more arguments than any other grade.
     
  23. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I think teaching younger grades is waaaaay harder!! When you have older students, you can them work in groups, or on independent work, or do silent reading if you need a small break. No breaks with younger kids! Plus they need constant help during the day. All those things I take for granted with older students-out the window with younger kids (knowing where things are, being able to ask a friend for help, looking words up in the dictionary themselves, just going to the bathroom without asking, etc.).

    My hat is off to anyone who teaches younger students. I also think daycare workers are saints.
     
  24. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I teach 3-6 yr olds in a Montessori classroom and hear the same things from the next level teachers. It drives me batty. We work our behinds off!

    Working with young children is very rewarding but let no one say it's a "cushy" job.
     
  25. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    LOL Yep!

    Preschool SPE isn't easy but to me, any other grade (reg or spe) would be hard to me. I'd be so lost elsewhere!
     
  26. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I get SO annoyed when people think this, too! People don't even realize how much more work kindergarten probably is now than it was years ago. Most people (I guess I'm not talking about fellow teachers here) remember kindergarten as napping, playing, and painting. I tell people to try to remember what first grade was like. That is my job now.
     
  27. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I definitely do not think that it is easy, and I would never want to go that low! Maybe she's thinking of her own kindergarten experience when kinders colored and learned how to paste, and took naps.
     
  28. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    There is no way that I could ever do what you do. I really do not deal well with young children. I am even able to enjoy my own children more since they are teenagers. My appreciation goes out to all early childhood and elementry teachers because I know it is not something that I could do. After all, I could not do my job if you had not done such a great job at your job.
     
  29. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aw, that's sweet. :) And I could never do your job, since I dropped out of physics after 4 weeks because I was already getting a C-. :lol:
     
  30. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Wow, thanks so much for your responses!

    I feel like getting t-shirts printed - I really wish we could change that perception - especially if it's pretty universal.

    We were at a training recently, our district is all about data now and we have a website where we can log in and see test scores 1st-5th. Now Kinder takes the same test (Stanford) and one of the teachers asked what about Kinder and her response was "Oh, Kindergarten doesn't count." Well, let's see if you would say that if a student didn't attend Kinder and just started in 1st Grade - how behind would they be?

    Our P wants to do some job switching next year - for an hour, or a day, just for people to see the expectation (mostly for the grade above). But I really want to have some of the upper grade teachers come down into the trenches and see what's like-some of them wouldn't last 2 minutes.

    Thanks so much for your responses! Like I said, we all deserve to be appreciated this week, it's not an easy job at any level. :wub:
     
  31. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I like that, but don't you think they need to switch grades for a week? That will really get them appreciating you more!
     
  32. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Well, I always taught 3 and up (or gifted second) and this year am teaching first grade. I may not be the best example, because honestly, I hate teaching this level, but this is my first year of arriving at 8 and leaving at 3:20, which are the hours we are supposed to arrive and leave. I am arriving and leaving w/ the primary and pre-k teachers now.

    I find the planning much easier and there is almost no work to take home. I will say however, the day itself is much more difficult for me and I just want it to end, but that's because I know I am not cut out for first grade.

    At home I find myself doing a lot of emailing with parents and writing my newsletters. I did that before too, but the parents were not as needy and there weren't as many demands on me from the parents when I had older children.

    I don't set up centers and things like that, but I worked really hard establishing routines like writer's and reader's workshop and math workshop. Now that the routines are set, I simply introduce the new materials or concepts and the kids sort of go with it. My planning time is significantly decreased.

    A word to the wise--- I would not move to a primary grade simply to decrease the workload. I did it to try it this year, and know I will not teach the lower grades again. It is just much too challenging for me!! Give me a nice class of third graders any day!!!! I will check all their HW and every assessment and all of their reports, and do it joyfully!
     
  33. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    The teachers in my school all call me a saint because they understand how hard my job is. I don't think I am a saint, I think I just do my job. I taught 5th grade and I don't think either grade was any easier or harder... as someone else said, just different.

    I often get from people not in teaching that my job must be fun, and it often is since I love children, but it is also hard! What gets to me the most is when they ask if I will ever be PROMOTED to a higher grade-level. People are still under the impression that the younger the grade, the less you get paid. That kills me!
     
  34. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    My dad actually asked me once why I had to go to school to teach kindergarten. :rolleyes:

    I must be doing something wrong because this is my 9th year in K and I arrive at school at 7 am most days (students arrive at 9:15) and bring work home on the weekends.

    I plan lots of hands-on activities and like to keep it fresh every year. I'm always looking for new ways to challenge my students and meet their needs.

    The pluses: Their writing usually takes 30 seconds to read and mark.
    I don't have to learn the concepts that I'm teaching. I certainly do know that material! It's just the presentation of it that takes the time. And once they walk in the door in the morning, I never sit down and I have to be "on" all the time. They are very, very "needy" and have LOTS to say all. the. time.

    I do love them.
     
  35. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    By far the toughest teaching job I had was in Kindergarten. I had a 2-week LTS position (right before I started my current one) in a K classroom. It's not that I hated it, but I definitely did not enjoy it and know that I could never see myself teaching Kindergarteners. On the plus side, you really learn (quickly!!) how to keep kids engaged at every moment of the day-- that has helped me immensely with my current job in first grade. Classroom management has always been a strength of mine, but I credit my 2 weeks in K for making my management even better. :)

    Bless alllllllllll the Kindergarten teachers.
     
  36. deazy86

    deazy86 Rookie

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    No job is easy, at any stage. But I agree that teaching in Kindergarten is the toughest one.
     
  37. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Some people are just geared to teach specific ages. Some people think I'm crazy to love fifth graders, and I think they are crazy to work with Kindergarteners! Every job is tough, and everyone has a special place that is their perfect age level. No teaching job is ever easy.....
     
  38. Epiphany

    Epiphany Rookie

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    I'm almost finished my degree and so can't comment on daily planning over a long period of time, but in terms of the exhaustion I can offer this notion, take it or leave it because it's a bit left of field and I thought it was silly at first!

    It's drawn from Steiner education philosophy, and basically says that a child will draw on their significant adult's physical strength until the age of 7. So the parent/s at home, and the teacher during school time. I can vouch for this, as my 2 older kids are now 9 and 8, and don't drain me half as much as my 5 year old! And I've done some volunteering at school to gain experience, and I'm never so weary after a day with the older grades than I am after K-2!

    I have also observed that the people with less to do, have time to complain! :)
     
  39. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I think it's all based on perception. I perceive early childhood to be easier than middle school. Before everyone gets their backs up over that statement, let me qualify that.

    For me, it's based on where my strengths are. I am much better at working with K-3 (even K-5) than with grades 6-8. Because of this, it makes for easier days, even though I probably put a lot more time into it (not to mention the physical work it takes to keep on top of younger children.)

    So for me, while I wouldn't say it is "easy", it is definitely "easier" than middle school. For someone else, middle school would be easier.

    :2cents:
     
  40. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Pre-School is not :Da job for JUST ANYONE! You have to be smart, make sense, think like them, act like them; (sometimes, if needed), energetic, loving, funny, fun loving, FLEXIBLE, parent friendly, kind, FLEXIBLE, and last but not the least, have a lot of empathy, AND more FLEXIBILITY, etc. It is a job where you have to be on top of your game ALL THE TIME! :angel:You have to stay..2 steps ahead of them. :DIt is the FIRST OFFICIAL EXPOSURE of children to the ART OF LEARNING!
    You are their HOPE for HAVING THE BEST TIME of their LIVES and making the FUTURE of their learning years SOUND and LOOK INVITING!:
    :2cents: YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THEM OR BREAK THEM, SO IT CARRIES A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY!:angel:
    Like GEORGE BENSON puts it..."I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride....THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL."
    "The quality of what we place in children's minds can outshine the quantity of what we try to impress management with."R1
    Rebel 1
     
  41. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    May 27, 2009

    I've been teaching Pre-K for almost 20 years I hear my name a thousand times a day. I say the children's names almost as much. Much of my vocabulary each day consists of, "Did you flush the toilet, wash your hands...with soap, do you have a change of clothes, where are your socks, clean up your area, let go of my leg, arm, dress, keep your hands to yourself, walk, stand up, quiet voices, be nice to your friends, we are all friends, do you need someone to play with, go rest on the soft chair, we use nice words here, work it out, talk it over, keep the buttons out of your nose, clean the spaghetti off our face, stop the farting and burping please, thank you for the picture, yes I'll help you write your name, that's a number not a letter, this is a 2, this is a 5, ask me in a nice voice, we don't whine here, pull your dress out of your undies, plates belong on the table, not your head, what are you doing, where are you going, stand up, sit down, should you be over there, what's wrong, can I help, are you o.k, everyone help, do the right thing, quiet down, walk, stop, where is it, do you think, come here, not there, here, what is that, put it away, do you have it, that's enough, I like that, I love you too.......Yes, it is a lot of work. It's important work and a teacher of children this young has the responsibility to inspire the love of learning. Lessons need to be carefully chosen and carried out with love and patience. No one knows the mind of a 4 year old. Believe me, it is hard work to do it right.
     

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