Being an educator for many years, one can easily be submerged into his or her world and worry about the daily grind of work. Year in and year out, children come and go, they move to different places and as they approach adulthood, you start questioning yourself, have I made an impact on the life of this person at all? I would say, I have been around in the field of education long enough to witness my students’ growth and development as they come closer to becoming the next drivers of the nation. Thanks to social media, you get a glimpse of people’s lives and see how they manoeuvre their lives. Many of them seem to have settled into the corporate world and could manage to live decent lives. Then I ask myself again, is this the measure of my success as a contributor to the development of young children? After all the resources shared in the courses, the points of view shared by colleagues, and issues and actions taken by organisations across the globe, I start to question, “Why does poverty still seem to pervade? Have I contributed only to the small sector of the workforce who seem to mind their personal needs only? What values and mindset have a contributed to all these children I have taught?”
Taking a wider perspective from the many resources that I got acquainted with – course instructors, course colleagues, communities and programs I looked into, as well as the web resources and organisations I connected with, education is not just about the engagements taking place in the four walls of the classroom. It is beyond learning the concepts and skills, but how they are used in real-life. How will the students transform these values and understanding in a world beset with issues of poverty and inequality? At the same time, how can I, as an educator not be limited to the scope of my daily work? Professionalism is indeed about extending networks to learn from and with them; to be able to tackle issues that can not be approached by one or two people only. Like Castle (2009) says, “being a professional is a life-long project.” It is a continuous work of knowing, discovering the unknown, searching to make things unknown and acting upon them. What I thought I was doing right many years ago is different from the contexts now and therefore, must be acted upon following the times. Advocacy is certainly an essential element of my life-long project. I wish to continue to raise my awareness and take action to create that impact not only amongst children I have taught, but on aspiring early childhood professionals I work with, so that positive outcomes will trickle down to the children and their families.
Castle, K. (2009). What do early childhood professionals do? Dimensions of Early Childhood, 37(3), 4–9. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=2f304318-cfbd-429a-8c0d-a5ec8269e7e9%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4209