The Gift of the Educator

Lately, I have been reflecting about my experience as an educator. For the first time in twenty years I am not involved in the regular care of children. School just started and since most of my work with children has followed elementary (5 to 12years), it feels strange not to be in a program afterschool.

I was considering the great gifts educators encounter each day in our work. Many people experience jobs that are demanding and dangerous or jobs that require all of their time and are only performed for money. Jobs where everyday on their morning commute, people wish their life would change. Educators may experience the feeling in the classroom. I understand, the job is hard, physically demanding and mentally challenging. On the other hand many educators love going to work each day. We look forward to learning with the children and experiencing life together. We love the families and supporting their dreams by providing a quality environment for their children to grow.

A gift we can receive everyday is that educators experience the special moments in life, if we just take a look. Think about it, we encounter children as they make discoveries, learn new things, experience awe and grow right before our own eyes. The child who struggles with attaining a skill and then all of a sudden has the joy of figuring it out, educators experience this wonder up close and personal. We encounter children at their best and when they are struggling. We experience the opportunity to comfort and guide children and mentor them through the tough times with the wisdom we gained by living as children ourselves.

A child's first steps and mastery of physical skills represents the miracle of life materializing right before us. Educators experience a front row seat to the greatest moments on earth. Children in our care are learning to discover their purpose in life even at a young age. Educators experience part of the process, stand alongside and witness children grow from year to year. I am always amazed at the children who come to our school at five years old and depart many years later so much taller, wiser and accomplished than I imagined the time we first met. The transformation is children's work we are just lucky enough to witness the ride.

Rewinding the past and all the children I have come in contact with, memories flood my brain of the experiences we did together. I could write stories for hours and hours and the stories would never fill the pages of my memory and of the greatness of life that happened. The children and I laughed and cried together, we ran and jumped, and then ran some more. We played in water and painted pictures. We produced plays, learned photography and cooked some awesome meals. These examples only scratch the surface of what I experienced as one educator, in one place, at one time.

If educators live in the moment, we will recognize that we have an opportunity most people do not. We will experience the gift that is given to us everyday. Each moment with the children represents a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered.  

Enjoy the moment.