Table of Contents
Everything you need to know about becoming a preschool teacher!
Legends often accredit their success to their teachers. Whether or not they stay with you all the time, a teacher’s ideas and thoughts can inspire you lifelong. Their passion for teaching and desire to shape responsible individuals drive the world’s future.
Often underappreciated, teachers have a drive from the inside that keeps them going. Especially ones that handle toddlers because they have to deal with 3–4-year-olds who are angry that their parents are not around.
Preschool teachers prepare kids to enter the formal education system, but this doesn’t mean they are not qualified enough. One has to pursue specific degrees just to become a preschool teacher.
Let’s know more.
Who is a preschool or kindergarten teacher?
A preschool or kindergarten teacher is an educator responsible for the overall development of 2-5-year-olds. These educators take care of the child’s social, intellectual, and physical requirements, introduce the child to formal school and implement programs and activities to build skills for future learning. Let’s say a kindergarten teacher is a gardener who looks after the baby plants in the garden.
How to become a preschool teacher?
The requirements to become a preschool teacher vary in Australian states. However, the primary requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood, for example, a Bachelor’s or Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care, a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood), or a related degree.
If you don’t have one, you must have changed your mind after graduation. You can then pursue a 2-year Master’s in Teaching (Early Childhood). Your educational institute often provides work placement, so you don’t have to worry about your job.
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the regulatory body in charge of early childhood teachers. You must fully register with them before you can become an official teacher.
This body also shares the criteria and qualified courses you must have to become an educator if you want to check it against your qualifications. However, if you do not fit it, you can get your qualifications assessed by the body for a small fee.
Further, there are additional requirements that depend on the state. They may ask you to have a First Aid Certificate, Working with Children license, National Police Certificate, and any/all documents and certifications the government of the state might require.
Of course, you will work with children, but that is not all. As a preschool teacher, you might get a job at places like kindergartens, child-care centers, daycares, special educational institutes, women’s and children’s shelters, hospitals, and schools. Depending upon your location of work, the conditions will differ.
You often need to lift and carry children, stand on for hours, and work in shifts. You must care for children, not mess with teaching equipment, and stay out of trouble. According to studies, only 56% of educators work full-time, which means you could take a part-time job role if there are other things you are also interested in.
Early childhood educators in Australia get an average pay of $66k annually or $30.09 per hour. As with any other profession, it increases as they accumulate more industry experience. The annual income for early childhood teachers in NSW is approximately $69,578, and $72,897 annually in Queensland.
The demand for qualified educators in Australia is increasing. If you want to be an early childhood educator, you could look for opportunities in Victoria.
The Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement, established in 2020, might increase senior kindergarten teachers’ salaries in Victoria to as much as $116,906 by 2024.
Curriculum preparation for kids
Many preschool teachers get into teaching right after their college or academic journey, and they forget the children are not as familiar with society as they are.
The basics, like identifying colors, numbers, and the alphabet, are necessary everywhere, but that’s not all. Remember that preschool sets a foundation for children to learn societal norms and behaviors.
Of course, you cannot teach them complex stuff; they’re just a few years old. Some ways to behave in a social setting are to queue up, maintain the decorum of a queue, listen to others when speaking, share, sit appropriately, etc.
And it would help if you taught it consciously and regularly. You might prefer teaching this separately to make sure they understand the importance. But also practice it between lessons to normalize and ingrain this behavior into their lives.
Many schools, therefore, start the day with prayers and devotional songs to make faith and prayer a part of the child’s life.
Prepare for the EXTRA work!
Early childhood education is not just about what kids learn from the books. As a preschool teacher, you will have a lot of work not involving the children, like keeping records, planning lessons, communicating with parents, and planning events.
Children explore when they are at school, meaning they will deal with scraped knees, illnesses, a lot of mess, and explanations to their parents.
There will be a lot of running behind children, especially the stubborn ones, and consoling them at the most minor things, sometimes even without any cause.
Once you start working directly with children, be physically and mentally prepared for this.
A lot of planning
When dealing with toddlers and kindergarteners, it is necessary to understand that their attention span is low, probably lesser than a goldfish.
Many teachers devise interactive activities and events to help to learn outside of the books. They arrange games for them to enjoy after a small session of studies.
So, as an early life educator, you must constantly invent new games and keep many backups.
Learn to improvise when your plan is not working. If the children are not occupied, they will create a commotion and want to go home.
Observe their behavior to learn what keeps them attentive and what distracts them. Base your activities and backup plans around them.
Preschool teachers are the most underappreciated of all educators we interact with. They are like second parents who significantly introduce us to the world, especially education.
Becoming a preschool teacher is a matter of great pride because watching young humans grow into not-so-young humans who you know will take on the world is enormously satisfying.