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Your Professional Identity
October 27, 2017
Genius is a childhood recaptured at will.
-Charles Baudelaire

An article in the Atlantic Monthly quotes Marcy Whitebook, the director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, about the importance of early educators:

"Existing brain science, Whitebook said, backs up what educators could only theorize in the 1970s: The first five years of a child's life are key to their overall brain development. What children learn before age 5—both academic skills like critical thinking and social skills like taking turns—sets the stage for the rest of their lives. The single most important element in capitalizing on that crucial window, Whitebook said, is who provides education in those years. 'People don’t tend to think teaching young children [is] as complex work as teaching older children, but in fact, it is,' Whitebook said."

And in the book, The Thinking Teacher, authors Sandra Heidemann, Beth Menninga and Claire Chang write about how important it is for early educators to respect themselves as professionals.

"Think of your professional identity as a story you are creating..." they urge. "That story forms a picture of how you see yourself as a teacher, how effective you feel, how you define your style of teaching, and what you see as your strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. It is also the story of how you take what you know about learning and teaching and bring it to life in your own way."

Source:The Underestimation of America’s Preschool Teachers,” by Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic Monthly, August 16, 2016

The Thinking Teacher:
A Framework for Intentional Teaching
in the Early Childhood Classroom

This essential professional development resource provides advice for early childhood teachers who are navigating demands and changes in their careers, helping them see these challenges as growth opportunities. Through in-depth self-assessment and reflection, educators reexamine their teaching philosophy, integrate new knowledge and strategies into their practice, and strengthen the impact of their teaching on students. In the midst of a constantly changing education landscape, educators will learn to teach with intention and rediscover their unique purpose and passion for teaching young children.


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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Francis Wardle · October 27, 2017
Denver, CO, United States

While I agree with the premise of this article, that the early years are critically important, and those who work with young children have a very important task, I don't see early childhood as a profession, and I do not see those of us who work in the field as professionals with a professional identity. Professionals are respected by society, paid what they are worth,and given important responsibilities to develop and control their profession. We are not. While I do not teach young children, but rather teach teachers of young children, as a adjunct professor I lack adequate pay, benefits, and any input into the culture of my college.

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