You might think that you don’t get to choose your child’s teacher, but that’s not true – especially in pre school. You get to choose where you want to send your kids regardless of where you live or where you are zoned. You get to talk to teachers, interview them, move your kid and choose who you want for them. This is the first teacher that your kids will ever have, and that’s why it’s so important to find one for your child that will make learning fun from day one. A bad preschool experience can have a negative effect on the life of your child forever. Your child needs to have an engaged teacher, a passionate teacher; one that loves his or her job and wants to educate your child.
Your child’s preschool teacher also needs to be able to work with your child. As the mother of four and family member of many teachers, I can tell you that not all teachers are created equal, just as all students are not created equal. The teacher I think is wonderful with my older daughter might not be able to handle my middle daughter because their conflicting personalities. There’s nothing wrong with that; but you do have to know what to look for when choosing your child’s first official educator so that you don’t do more damage than good as your child begins his or her school career.
An engaged teacher
An engaged teacher is usually a really good teacher. You want your child to have a teacher that loves to engage in the classroom and the lives of their kids. All the teachers I know say that being engaged shows that the job is more than just a job, and that’s always a good thing.
A teacher that talks to your child
If a teacher does not acknowledge your child and only speaks to you, it’s not a good sign. A good teacher will get down and look at your kids in the eyes and talk to them. He or she will also listen and make an effort to get to know your child, putting him or her at ease and making friends.
A teacher that has a blank canvas as a classroom
I used to think that a busy, fun and colorful classroom was the way to go. But then my mother, aunt and cousin (all teachers) said no; a blank canvas is what you want. This means that your child’s teacher plans on decorating his or her room with your child’s work, and that’s what kids want to see.
A teacher that has convictions
A teacher that goes with the flow, does the job and lives for the weekend is not the teacher you want. You want a teacher with strong convictions, such as someone who feels that reading is the most amazing thing that kids can learn and will have your kids reading in no time. Someone who has beliefs and convictions is going to do a much better job than someone just there for a paycheck.
A teacher with fun clothes
Growing up, I always felt an instant connection with teachers that dressed themselves in fun attire. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with teachers that are a little more subtle, but it was something that made me feel good about a teacher. I never had a teacher in fun clothes that wasn’t also fun in the classroom. And it’s funny that my oldest daughter said the same thing about her first grade teacher; so it must be true.
A fun but challenging curriculum
Preschool might not be a place that your kids go to get a full-on education, but they are there to learn. You want a good mixture of fun and education, with lessons that pertain to your child’s age and attention span. You want your child to learn, not just play all day.
A teacher with the right personality
There is no such thing at the ‘right’ personality, per say. However, you do need one with a personality that will mesh well with that of your child. For example, my oldest is a very studious, quiet little girl who loves to learn and wants to learn in a very structured setting. My four-year-old, however, needs a teacher with a no-nonsense personality and a sense of humor to keep her in line. Give her the wrong teacher and she’s going to walk all over them, and that’s not what we want her to experience.
A teacher with enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is catching, and I want enthusiastic kids. I want my kids’ teachers to have a passion and enthusiasm for the job that they bring to the classroom. This will rub off on my kids and their views of education, and that is exactly what I want for my kids in their school years.
A great overall program
Sometimes it’s not all about the teacher. Sure, you want a great one, but you also want an overall amazing program. When I was choosing a preschool for my four-year-old, I knew that I did not want one that’s more daycare than educational facility. I knew that I wanted her in a structured setting with an educationally based program. She just started VPK and she went into her classroom able to write her name, recognize all her letters and numbers and read her sight words. Compared to a friend’s child that it’s a daycare program instead of a preschool program, she’s far ahead because his program never once worked on those things with him.
A good reputation
Nothing is better than a good reputation. Your teacher, the school and the program should have a good reputation. Without one, you might not want to consider it. After all, if parents who have been there and tried that out are not happy with the program, what makes you think that you will be happy with it? You want somewhere and someone that love kids and want to educate them. It makes all the difference.
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