HiMama is improving learning outcomes for children zero to five. We support early childhood education because the sector is the most challenging teaching environment. Low wages, lack of professional development and long days; HiMama’s aim is to ease childcare management and support early childhood professionals.
The HiMama team firmly believes that early childhood professionals deserve to be celebrated and that recognition is important. Our Educator Spotlight is one way we are shining a light on the important and undervalued work of childcare professionals.
“Like many kids, I spent a lot of my childhood declaring that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up, but as I got older my interests shifted and I originally went to school for journalism and music business. After a (very expensive) semester there, I left academia for awhile and re-enrolled around the time most of my peers were graduating with four year degrees. I started out in the music education program, thinking I wanted to be an elementary music teacher, but the music theory part kicked my butt, so after considering a switch to something like mass comm I ultimately chose an ECE major instead. It may have taken me some time to end up here, but it’s definitely where I’m meant to be”.
CHALLENGES IN EARLY EDUCATION
The challenges Jesi describes are familiar to many early childhood professionals. She reflected on the lack of benefits and compensation for early educators:
Lack of Compensation
“I think the thing I struggle with the most is the lack of compensation and benefits for early educators. I work as a coach for teachers in early learning currently and the list of things we expect our teachers to accomplish is so long, but the pay and respect is lacking in a huge way. Training and professional development is also needed for a lot of people in the field, but nobody wants to pay for a degree that will earn them minimum wage. As a parent, I want my child to have quality care, but it’s hard to attain and maintain quality when turnover is so high. And turnover is high because ECE teachers aren’t making a living wage. All of this to say: the biggest challenges in our work at the moment are lack of support, training and resources, lack of compensation and a society that doesn’t see early educators as the professionals they truly are”.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER?
“I do wish I had more time to support individual teachers at the different sites I coach. It’s hard to be a solid support system for people you only see once or twice a month for a couple of hours”.
“There’s something truly beautiful watching a child have that “aha!” moment. When they’ve worked so hard to accomplish something and they’ve pushed through their struggles and frustrations and met their goal. I love watching their face light up and hearing them proclaim “I did it!”. This is the best feeling in the world”.
Parents are a child’s first teacher and it is so incredibly important for them to know that and to believe that. At the end of the day we are all in this because we want the best possible outcome for their child. The only way to get there is to work as a team.
“I was recently accepted to graduate school and will be studying constructivism at Portland State University, so I am very excited about that. I’m hoping that I can work towards providing professional development for teachers. I love to research, design and deliver trainings as part of my current position, so doing that full time would be amazing. Also, my friend Lynsey and I are continuing to work on our website, outsidevoicesearlylearning.com, and I wouldn’t complain if that came to be a full time job someday! Writing will always be one of my biggest passions, so any time I get to do that, I consider it a win”.
Do you have an educator you think should be in our Educator Spotlight? Contact us today and let us know!