I can really be such a worry-wart if I allow myself. I try really hard to only worry about things that I can control or change. I'm a little stuck right now worrying about something that is out of my control. The what-if's run through my head and I need to get them out of my head so that I don't become paralyzed with worry and forget to enjoy the present. So here I am letting loose my worry into the world so that I may go about the business of enjoying all the blessings I have in my life.
I am a preschool teacher. I am employed by a public school in Iowa. For those of you out-of-staters, Iowa began funding preschool for four-year-olds four years ago. We have had a change in government and the continued funding of preschool is not looking so hot right now. This means a big question mark for me for next year, both as a teacher and as a parent of a child who will turn four in a couple of months.
I enjoy my job. I believe I make a difference in the lives of children and families. I have wonderful co-workers and colleagues. The pay is alright and there are decent benefits. So I worry about all of this changing. <sigh>
I am a good teacher. I have many skills, knowledge, and experiences that will make me employable. I have an early childhood special education endorsement now. This is a shortage area in Iowa. I have worked at two preschools that have been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. I live in a supportive community and near many supportive friends and family, so I know that even if there is a time period that I am without work we'll be okay. I just hate change.
I hate that the possibility of change is even there. There is a wealth of research that shows the experiences a child has before he is five determine so much about his success in school and in life in general. In a perfect world parents would be able to provide these experiences for their children, and many do. But in the twelve years I have taught preschool, I have also seen so many families that for numerous reasons have been unable to provide a healthy, happy environment for their children, or just need a little assistance from someone with either a little more experience or training in the area of early childhood to guide them.
Basically what I foresee happening is that the very poor will have preschool due to Head Start, Shared Visions, and maybe vouchers from someone (government has been a little vague about this last piece). The more well off will be able to afford to pay for preschool. And those of us in the middle will either re-adjust the budgets and tighten the belt a bit tighter, or our children will enter kindergarten without the chance to learn the social skills and play skills that research shows are necessary as a foundation for academics. The teacher quality will decrease. I won't go back to work at Head Start, because I feel I am worth more than they can afford to pay me. I would make more subbing.
I'm just frustrated that education, and especially early childhood education, gets the shaft once again. Thanks for letting me get that out of my brain. I imagine I'll have some comments on either side of the situation. I welcome them. And perhaps, when it is not the middle of the night, I will write another post that has a bit more meat to it. Meanwhile I encourage you to visit some of my favorite preschool blogs listed to the right of the page to see some of the amazing things that happen in preschool.
Preschool blogs include: Teacher Tom, Teach Preschool, Irresistible Ideas, let the children play, and Prekinders. No Time for Flashcards is a great inspiration for me as well, but is written by a former teacher, current stay at home mom about working with her own children, so I guess it really doesn't count as a preschool blog. Again thanks for listening.