Recently, I met a few of my friends who are mothers who are sending their children to school. To be more specific, private preschool. There were stories and in fact lots of them!
Well, being mothers we have quite similar concerns. However, each of us merely has different perspectives and view on each concerns.
Overall, we were sharing on the concern of a particular issues. Change of teachers.
There are some points which I would like to share on why the concern become an issue.
Change of teachers normally:
1. Shows that the school management has issues.
2. The students achievement will be affected.
There are many other explanations and stories on why change of teachers worry many moms. However, I realized that the above 2 are the underlying concerns.
From the view of mothers, they are very concern on the ability of the management team to manage and handle the day to day operation of the school. As their children are young, they have certain expectation to the people’s capability to manage the school.
Changes of teachers will normally viewed as problem caused by the management. From the process of screening and selection, there could be issues arise which result in the teachers resignation. Most of the time, once a teacher resign, the first thought came were about what fault could it be in the management?
When a teacher change, there is a possibility of delay in the children’s learning. How can a lesson be continue and taught well if the teachers keep changing? That is the main concern above all.
Then, I shared with them an insight of the industry. This is the story and a real situation in preschool and kindergarten or any similar settings. In fact, in education industry, the similar issues arise every now and then. The scenario in preschool is more challenging as it involves parent’s expectation and at the same time issues of compliance.
There are many cases involve with changes of teachers including:
a) Parents are expecting the best from the school, therefore the management need to change teachers for the better.
b) Teachers are applying for a permanent position, however working with a temporary attitude.
c) Teachers are expected to be wise, however many are childish.
d) Parents are expected to be the child’s advocate, however many are just stranger.
Now, let us see the situation of staff changes in general.
If you realized in a fast food restaurant where mostly the young are servicing, you will not be thoroughly check who is serving you. You will be happy as long as the burger that you order is ready for you. Well, I believe none of us who line up to order for a burger would ever asked the girl at the counter about her qualification or how many years have she been working in the restaurant.
However, in school or kindergarten, the teacher is our main concern as mother. Regardless of how good the school is, we still wanted to know the teacher who teaches our child. Somehow, this does not happen as you send your child to primary school.
Why is that so? Aren’t you curious to know?
Well, most moms told me that preschool or kindergarten is something that they choose and pay for their children. Whereas, primary school is merely a government entity and everybody is compulsory to send their children to school. Therefore, the concerns and expectations are different.
Let us view the situation of staff again. Preschool and kindergarten is a place for early or matured ‘job seeker’ to choose. Here, let me share my personal experience working and managing preschool centres since year 2000.
The people who apply for the position as a kindergarten teachers are normally come from 3 category. They are:
1. Applying with and for luck
The majority of applicant came from the first group, those who are applying with luck in mind and searching for something lucky for their future. Normally this group belongs to the applicants aged 21-26 years old. They are mostly young graduates who yet wanted to decide what they want in life. They simply need to get some money to continue life after study or college. 95% is single.
In this category, most of them are job hoppers too.
Base on my personal record, 60% of the people from this group will stay for only 6 months.
2. Applying for a career advancement
This group is very rare to find. They are the people who normally come with a minimum of certificate in teaching. In preschool and kindergarten setting, they are mainly diploma holders. Most of the applicants are people who wanted to practice what they have learnt in their study years.
Most of them perform their job well, yet easy to be demotivated due to lack of experience in life. However, they show maturity when it comes to handling children. This group belongs to those aged 21-35 years old.
60% are just graduated from early childhood education background.
From this number, 60% showed great performance and able to advance in teaching career.
The balance of 40% are from other educational background (90% are from technical background). Out of the 40%, 30% are able to stay and progress better than those who graduates from early childhood education background.
3. Applying for a change in life
Yes, this category fill in by people whom have had enough of experience and challenges from other industry.
60% are mainly those who quit from a moderate to high level in corporate companies and would like to make a change in life.
30% are mothers who wanted to start working after a long rest.
10% are mothers who have never worked before and wanted to gain income.
UNDERSTANDING the industry, makes one understand the story. Moms, being customer of the school have an expectation to manage. The school, being managed by professional, need to continuously comply to the best practices and rules and regulations of the industry.
As in Malaysia, preschool education is getting more attention from the government and public compared to previous years. Parents are more aware on their children’s progress and hardly focus only on the academic performance.
Changes of staff, or even the learning materials will not affect the children’s progress if this concern being tackle wisely. Below are some suggestions for moms and teachers too:
1. Communication is the key
Teachers and parents need to work hand in hand. Focus on solution, communicate issues and discuss for the betterment is the main objective. Have faith, be open, speak as professionals and your child is my child are the strong elements to build. Children will be able to benefit tremendously through professional partnership between parents and teachers.
2. Parents involvement
There are areas of the children’s development which need 100% parental involvement. Teachers will not able to do a life work for anyone. Successful and happy children get enough guidance by nurture and nature which mainly comes from home.
3. Home-school partnership
What is in school, should be at home too.
If in school, children are exposed to reading, there should be reading materials at home.
If in school children are to be disciplined, there should be some rules to be followed at home.
Get the key (communication) to be in place and surely the children will benefit the most.
When there are young parents, matured teachers voluntarily help. When there are young teachers, matured parents willingly assist.
When there is positive communication between parents and teachers, changes of teachers will not affect the children’s learning process.
Text by : Noraminah Omar.