It starts like any other day. You arrive at your child’s preschool, ready for another mundane Monday. Suddenly, you are awaken from your early morning daze when you walk through the doors and are greeted by an unfamiliar face. In place of your child’s caregiver is a smiling new teacher. Where has your child’s teacher gone? Who is this new person? And why do you feel the sudden urge to run away with your child tucked firmly under your arm?
Change is difficult under any circumstance. When it comes to protecting our children, we view change as the great disruption that can alter the course of their lives forever. We take pride in planning every detail of their lives. We look at the departure of a familiar teacher like a separation from a family member. We take it personally and we take it seriously – because it is the ultimate example that we are not in complete control over our children’s lives.
Parents take pride in picking the perfect preschool with the perfect teachers. Parents, however, can’t control every facet of their chosen preschool. Changes happen. Teachers leave, the lunch menu changes, the uniform policy becomes more strict. As a parent, you can remain confident in the choice you made for your child as long as your preschool’s philosophy of education remains in line with yours. Is the center still held to high quality standards? Is the facility still safe and secure? Do you feel that the administration of the preschool is hands on and involved in your child’s education? If so, you can feel confident that your child’s new teacher is going to be held to the same high standards as the old one, and you can feel confident dropping them off each day.
But is teacher turnover normal? Should you be worried? Should you be upset?
The fact is that the child care industry is not a lifelong career for many employees; and unfortunately this includes some of the best teachers you may know. In a never ending mission to keep child care affordable for parents, staff salaries are also relatively low, particularly when compared to elementary and middle school teachers.
Teachers are people, too. They are people who want to advance in their careers and provide the best for their family. Sometimes, they move on to new career opportunities after completing their higher education. Other times, they are bound by family commitments such as new babies or elderly parents who need their care. Although the change may seem like an inconvenience for your family, it is important to take your former teacher’s feelings and needs into account before passing judgment.
A great teacher weighs the pros and cons of leaving their students quite heavily. They are likely missing your family as much as you are missing them. Remember your child’s old teacher with fondness, and look back on your time together with gratitude and happiness. In the same way, look forward to the great time’s your child will have with their new teacher. A new teacher can offer new activities, new perspectives, and new inspiration.
Stay positive. New adventures can seem scary at first, but they aren’t a negative thing. Let go and let your new child’s new teacher lead you down a new, exciting path.