Sunday, August 31, 2008

Early Childhood Teacher's Unions: Helping or Harming

I've written previously about the catch 22 I'm in as a Director. If I want to hire high quality teachers, I need to really offer them more money. If the board were to approve an increase in wages, that would most certainly lead to an increase in tuition, especially since I'm working in the nonprofit sector. As this center moves in the direction of NAEYC Accreditation , the board will most certainly have to make this decision for the next fiscal year.

The center where I'm at is not the only facility caught in this catch 22. Something needs to happen at a bigger level if Early Childhood Educators are to truly be fairly compensated in the long run. I've heard a bit about Early Childhood Teacher's Unions and I wonder if they help or harm the issue over all. What is your experience with teacher's unions in the Early Childhood industry?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Radio Shows!

I am excited to discover that NAEYC has it's very own radio program. What a wonderful way to get some free training right in the comfort of your own home! I will definitely be taking advantage of this wonderful resource and will encourage my staff to also.

I found some other wonderful, free, early childhood related radio or tv programming/podcasts. The first can be found at Early Childhood News, one of my favorite websites. The next is found at Teachers TV and has many resources for a wide range of education topics, not just early childhood. Similarly, there is also Teachernet, a video channel out of the UK. Finally, there is the Parent's Journal, which is geared toward parents, but has lots of great information to share.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stress Management

Something that I didn't know before I began this adventure into preschool administration is how stressful my position would be. I think some of it has to do with the size of the center I work for (112 children) and the circumstances that I entered my position under (major issues in two classrooms, staffing problems, NAEYC accreditation, and organization-wide adoption of a curriculum). However, some of what I didn't understand before I took this position, was the amount of daily stress I would undergo.

For me, this has become a bit of a personal road block. I would describe myself as a Highly Sensitive Person and that is a bit of a mixed blessing. Being as sensitive as I am allows me to be in tune with my staff, parents, children, and coworkers. However, this causes me to also be highly sensitive to subtleties and react more severely or be more easily stressed by things that happen in my life. In other words, I over react because what I'm feeling is a bit more severe than what others may be feeling about the exact same situation.

I'm at a real cross roads right now because I'm trying to determine weather or not I'm going to be able to get a grasp on the stress involved with the work that I'm doing. My job is challenging, and I like that. I'm using all my talents, but this job also emphasizes my areas of weakness, such as remaining outwardly calm and collected in high stress, quick thinking situations. This is particularly true when a parent comes to me with a complaint or challenges me on something that I really need to think about before answering.

Our Executive Director assures me that I am doing a fine job and feels that I am being too hard on myself regarding my performance. I am conflicted because I'm having a difficult time determining if the stress and anxiety I'm feeling has to do with my own personal weaknesses or if I am in a position where I have never been as challenged as I currently am.

Friday, August 8, 2008

How to Appologize

This was sent to me by The Early Childhood Exchange. They have many wonderful resources available, some of which are free. One of the free resources is a weekly newsletter that one can subscribe to. I find about 80% of the information sent is meaningful to either myself, my employees, or the parents at the center where I'm working. I found this article, and the links within it, both helpful and amusing in some circumstances.


How to Apologize

August 8, 2008
Give children the time and the space to work it out.
Karen Stephens

The August issue of Wired magazine includes many "how to" tips including how to build an army of followers, how to donate money, how to dress like a hipster, how to pretend to be working, and how to win at rock, paper, scissors. Here are their suggestions on how to apologize:

  1. Come clean quickly. Even a heartfelt apology loses its luster after a string of denials and equivocations.... You look like you fessed up only because you got cornered.
  2. Take the rap. A good apology is a clear admission of guilt. Avoid the passive voice ("mistakes were made") or weasel words ("I'm sorry if you...") that sh ift blame onto others — especially the person you wronged.
  3. Make good. If material harm was done ... clean it up or pay for it. If the damage was emotional, list the steps you're taking to ensure that it never happens again.