Child care teachers are the caregivers of our little ones for at least 1/3 of the day. They can spend up to 40+ hours with our children (for full time children and full time teachers). Meeting their basic needs of food, diapering and giving attention is the job description, but many also go beyond that to build a bond with the children and care for them on a deep level. We interviewed a daycare teacher to find out what a typical day is like for her, what the biggest challenge is and the most rewarding aspect of tending to toddlers all day long and how SmartCare can make her job easier.
Describe a typical day for you. From when you arrive to when you leave.
I work the morning shift, so I start at 7am and finish at 2pm. I have many responsibilities besides just caring for and playing with the children. I’m one of the teachers for the two’s - two to three year olds. A typical day for me would be prepping the classroom for the day - which entails setting up the chairs at the kids table from the previous nights cleaning. Stocking the room with supplies, such as paper towels, gloves, cleaning supplies etc. Usually the arts & crafts supplies are already in the classroom, but if not I get that stuff too in preparation for the day.
I also am responsibly for the paperwork related to the children for the day. Transition sheets and daily sheet for each child, which includes the child’s name, time of arrival, # of kids that day, their age and the time of my arrival to the classroom. We also keep track of what they are fed for snacks and lunch, time & frequency of diaper changes, what was served for lunch, the times that they napped and what activities they participated in that day.
What is the easiest part of your job?
Getting to know the children and playing with them. It’s always fun to see their personalities and interests come out and flourish as time goes by. And also nap time. Nap time is easy because they know that they need to sleep when I’m in charge of the classroom.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Instituting values in the children. Not all kids listen well and some are not well mannered. This can make the job more difficult. Especially when I have a lot of children that day. High ratios are a big challenge for me too. Having a second teacher in the room with me makes my job easier and it allows for more control over the children and what you are trying to accomplished, from diaper changes to group activity time.
How many children do you supervise at a time?
It can vary day to day, but the maximum is 10.
What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a child care teacher?
Watching them grow and learn. Many of the children I have in my classroom starting coming to daycare at young age, and to see them now walking and talking in sentences is incredibly rewarding.
What is the least rewarding?
Diaper changing. (laughs).
Do you feel a lot of pressure every day?
I do, but mostly from myself. I want to look composed and have everything under control, especially when parents are dropping off their children in the morning. My boss knows I do the best I can.
How do you handle behavioral problems that may come up day to day?
Depending on the age, I will get down on their level and discuss the issue and explain why what they did was wrong. With older school age kids, you can speak more directly and ask why did something hurtful to someone or something was against the rules.
Do you ever have a hard time coping emotionally after tending to so many kids?
Yes, it can be draining. But I care about the children in my classroom and want the best for them.
Why did you decide to become a daycare teacher?
I’m a third generation teacher. My grandparents and my dad were all teachers and they loved it. I started taking some education classes in college and wanted to gain real life experience. I’ve been a teacher for about 1 1/2 years now. I really enjoy the younger babies and children, especially under age 3.
What do you think are qualities of good daycare teacher?
Patience for sure! Even tempered and firm, organized, being caring and understanding, good communicator and also have a love of teaching. If you have these traits teaching can be so rewarding and fulfilling.
What if anything would make your day to day easier?
Lower ratios. Smaller classes or another teacher on hand to help out when things get chaotic would make my day to day easier and less stressful.
SmartCare wants to make child care easier for teachers, directors and owners with our mobile software and app. Classroom ratios, easily process tuition payments, payroll and attendance tracking are just some our features. You can check out all of our features here and request a free demo of our software here.
Interview with Hannah K. – Las Vegas, Nevada