Monday, July 20, 2015

My Tribe

Saturday I was privileged to be one of the workshop leaders at the Tennessee Weekday Early Education Conference. I was able to meet and talk with a lot of wonderful preschool teachers. It was the first workshop-leading experience I've had in a while. I was reminded why I enjoy doing it. (I was also bone tired at the end of the day.)

I talked with some friends that I haven't seen in a while. I talked with a lot of new friends, too. I spoke a lot of words, many more than I usually do in a whole week. That's the difference in working at home and working in a location - seeing and talking to people.

As I reflect on the day, I realize that those people are my tribe. I belong with a group like that. Well, I kind of stick out. I only saw a few guys (and those were leaders or vendors). But I fit in with them. They understand what I'm talking about more than other groups.

Here's what I'm thinking about all those wonderful preschool teachers I met and saw this weekend.

Preschool* teachers want to do a good job. The teachers had questions. They came with concerns or needs that they wanted help with. They were looking for new ideas or different ones that could work in their classrooms. No matter what the experience level, all the teachers wanted to do the best they could for the kids they teach. All wanted to learn more so they could be more effective.

Preschool teachers enjoy themselves. If they were doing a brain break, talking in small groups, or just conversing in the halls, they were laughing and enjoying the experience together. They enjoyed hearing (and telling) stories about kids. They excitedly thumbed through a new resource or browsed displayed materials. They enjoyed being together. Sometimes teaching can be a little lonely (when you're the only "big person" in the room). Gathering together and having a good time helps teachers recharge. And these teachers were ready for some fun.

Preschool teachers are helpful. More than once, teachers would go through my conference space and pick up trash that had been left. At the end of the day, two ladies came into my room. "We're just making sure everything is picked up," they said. They made sure trash was put away - so I didn't have to do that job after I packed up. Or someone else had to do it when resetting the room.

Preschool teachers are grateful. I heard "Thank you" more times than I could count. And they meant it.

Preschool teachers like chocolate. They were excited when I told them it was available in my room. They ate almost all I had (like I told them to do). There were only a few pieces left, just enough for Cindy and me to enjoy (and not overindulge).

Preschool teachers love kids. When I heard a question or statement, I heard the care behind the voice. I heard "I want to meet this child's needs" behind every concern. And these ladies spent a Saturday wanting to learn more about loving and teaching those kids.

I've always been happy to be an early childhood teacher, to be associated with such a group. After this weekend, I can continue to say I'm glad I'm a part of this tribe of caring adults who love children.

*While I'm blogging about preschool teachers, I think this list is appropriate for teachers of any age group.

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